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More jail time for brazen jewelry heist

A prolific offender will spend more time behind bars for the brazen theft of thousands of dollars in jewelry from a Campbell River pawn shop.

Eddie John Nelson, 37, had already served a six-month sentence for possession of stolen property. Then in Monday, in Campbell River provincial court, he received further jail time for the break and enter.

Crown prosecutor Tim Morgan admitted the case is convoluted, but it’s the result of Nelson being charged in two communities.

It was around 4 a.m., on July 15, 2011, when Nelson was joined by Tanya Lee Ellis and family members Arthur Michael Nelson and Bruce David Nelson for a well-planned break-in at Campbell River Collateral located at 870 Island Highway.

Using a stolen Dodge Ram pickup, along with chains, the crew pulled off the store door and security bars causing considerable damage. The culprits were seen fleeing with various good and jewelry valued at approximately $19,000.

Campbell River RCMP were alerted to the break-in at 4:23 a.m., but the thieves had already fled. Minutes later, police received a report of the suspect vehicle crashing into a Ford Explorer near the intersection of Thulin Street and 5th Avenue.

The caller reported seeing three men offloading goods from the pickup to a Chevrolet pickup which had also been stolen.

When officers arrived, they tended to the driver of the Explorer and learned the Chevy and culprits had sped off, heading north on Thulin. Later, the stolen truck was found in the parking lot by City Hall.

“It appears the group responsible for these crimes had prepared in advance, stealing vehicles and parking them at a variety of locations should they be engaged by police,” said RCMP Sgt. Craig Massey, following the break-in. “The reckless efforts to flee the area and disregard for other area residents is of particular concern to police.”

The same day, the proprietor of the Ocean Grove store reported that a set of chains was found in front of their business, suggesting it was also a target location.

The culprits got away, but were caught two weeks later after trying to sell huge amounts of jewelry in Nanaimo. Police caught up with the thieves and eventually arrested all four who were later convicted of either possession of stolen property or break and enter.

Ellis received a 270-day jail sentence while Arthur Nelson got a year. Bruce Nelson received a $500 fine and two years probation while Eddie Nelson was handed a six-month sentence and a year of probation.

However, during sentencing last May, Eddie Nelson had still not been charged with the B&E in Campbell River.

He wound up serving the first sentence, was released on a probation order, but wound up back in jail  last month for violating his curfew.

At Monday’s court appearance, Eddie Nelson appeared by video from cells in Victoria. He pleaded guilty to break and enter, and the breach, and was given an additional four months jail time, less 10 days for time already served.

The sentence was a joint submission from both the Crown and the defence. The court heard that most of the stolen jewelry was recovered.

Eddie Nelson has now accumulated more than 40 convictions for a variety of offences. He plans to return to his job at Brown’s Bay Packing following his release from jail.

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