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Long-time thief denied bail, faces new charges

Bail has been denied to a man accused of stealing thousands of dollars in valuables during a residential break and enter.

Justin Esau, 31, of Campbell River has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2000, and is now facing charges of theft under $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and break and enter to commit an indictable offence.

On Monday, in provincial court, Esau appeared by video from jail cells in Victoria where he’s being held since his arrest last week by Campbell River Mounties.

According to Crown prosecutor John Boccabella, on April 18, Esau was seen hanging around the Mosaic Vocational School on Shoppers Row. He was apparently waiting for his girlfriend, but on that day an iMac computer went missing from the school.

The computer was later found by police at a local pawn shop. The owner told police that Esau pawned the computer earlier in the day for $100; he also said that he’s known Esau for years, said Boccabella who read from the police statement.

The more serious offence occurred on May 21, during a break-in to a home on Taylor Way.

When the residents had returned from the holiday weekend, they found that several items were missing, with an estimated value of $20,000.

The stolen items included tools, long guns, a computer and a car.

The vehicle was later recovered by police, found in the possession of Esau’s girlfriend. Her mother also told officers that Esau had given the car to her daughter.

Further investigation of the home on Taylor Way revealed fingerprints both outside and inside a window. The RCMP forensic squad identified the prints as belonging to Esau.

In closing, Boccabella asked the judge to detain Esau.

“Mr. Esau’s record is abysmal,” said Boccabella, pointing out the record contains convictions for thefts, frauds, break and enters, possession of stolen property, drug possession, and breaching court orders.

However, defence lawyer Chantal Sutton asked Judge R. Sutton to consider releasing Esau on strict conditions and by posting bail ranging from $2,500-$5,000.

She said he would live with his parents and would abide by a curfew which would allow him to care for his three-year-old daughter during the day while the mother, his girlfriend, attends school.

But Judge Sutton declined to give Esau bail.

His detention is warranted, the judge reasoned, due to the “substantial likelihood” that Esau would commit more offences if he was free on bail.

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