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Thief to follow partner’s lead for treatment

A drug-addicted thief will get his chance to turn his life around.

Elijah Wadhams, 24, wants to follow the lead of his girlfriend – the mother of his two children – and enter a residential treatment facility to deal with his addiction.

As a result, the Campbell River man received an eight-month conditional sentence, instead of jail time, after pleading guilty to four charges on Monday in provincial court.

The conditional sentence will allow Wadhams to enter a 70-day program in Abbotsford.

His partner is also currently in residential treatment for addiction issues.

“He’s now seen the success his girlfriend is achieving in the program…(and) he wants to get his addiction under control,” said defence lawyer Brian Dybwad.

Crown prosecutor Tim Morgan agreed to the sentencing terms, which also includes one year of probation.

However, Morgan said the sentence is “leap of faith” because there will be a gap between Wadhams’ release from jail in Victoria and him actually getting to Abbotsford for treatment.

Judge Brian Saunderson understood the prosecutor’s concern, “Every non-custodial sentence requires a leap of faith. That’s how it goes.”

Wadhams was arrested Sept. 6, 2012, after he and another man attempted to steal $186 worth of meat from Thrifty Foods.

Both men were arrested outside the store and the meat was recovered.

Wadhams was charged with theft under $5,000 and then he failed to show  up in court for his first appearance on Oct. 15.

His next crime occurred on Dec. 12, when he stole a woman’s credit card from a residence on Seagull Drive.

Wadhams then used the credit card the next day to buy $800 worth of pre-paid American Express cards from the 7-Eleven convenience store located at Dogwood Street and 2nd Avenue.

Mounties arrested Wadhams later that day.

He was found in possession of the American Express cards as well as the receipt, and has been in custody since then.

At Monday’s court appearance, Wadhams appeared by video from cells in Victoria and entered guilty pleas to theft, possession of a stolen credit card, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and failing to appear in court.

In addition to the eight-month conditional sentence and one year probation, Wadhams was ordered to not go to Thrifty Foods and both 7-Eleven stores in Campbell River.

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