A drunken thief who tried to smash two business entrances by using a truck has been given a conditional sentence due to his poor health.
Lorne Guy Seitz will basically be under house arrest for two years less a day after pleading guilty to two counts of break and enter, and theft over $5,000.
The 46-year-old has hepatitis C which has caused serious liver problems. He pleaded guilty to the charges on Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in the hope he could get a conditional sentence so he can undergo a year-long treatment program in Campbell River.
“His life is on the line…he knows how important the treatment is,” said his lawyer, Chantelle Sutton.
She added that if Seitz does not abide by the conditional sentence, he will likely find himself back in jail which would be “a death sentence.”
According to Crown prosecutor Bruce Goddard, on April 30, 2011, Campbell River RCMP received a report of two men using a pickup truck in an attempt to pull the doors off the General Paint Store, located at Discovery Harbour Mall.
When police arrived shortly before 6 a.m., the truck was gone. The front entrance was damaged, but it appeared no one was able to get inside.
Then another call came in of a similar vehicle being used to try and break into the Willows Pub Cold Beer and Wine Store on Rockland Road.
Once again, by the time officers arrived, the culprits were gone, but they had a good description of the truck as well as the licence plate number provided by a janitor who was cleaning the pub and witnessed the break-in.
Later, when a patrolling officer spotted the suspect vehicle and stopped it at the Shell Gas station at the corner of the Inland Island Highway and Willis Road.
Driving the vehicle was Roderick Jurriet, who is well-known to police, with a highly intoxicated Seitz in the passenger seat.
The pickup was taken without consent from Jurriet’s stepfather, but charges against Jurriet were dropped when he agreed to testify against Seitz.
In a statement given to police, Jurriet said Seitz wanted to break into the paint store to steal two professional spray paint guns valued at $2,000.
Then, when Seitz wanted more booze, they drove to the Willows. Video surveillance footage shows Seitz using the rear end of the truck to smash the entrance while Jurriet allegedly ran inside and grabbed bottles of alcohol.
After being stopped by police at the Shell Station, officers searched the pickup and found two bottles of Fireball liquor and a bottle of vodka.
The truck was also heavily damaged with telltale yellow paint markings from the barricade pillars outside the paint store.
Seitz’ conviction for theft over $5,000 stems from a July 21, 2010, incident which occurred in his hometown of Port Hardy.
During the night, Seitz stole a trailered boat from Pacificus Biological Services. The boat and trailer were later found by police, attached to a red Jeep on Grey Street, parked outside Seitz’ residence.
Seitz tried to explain to police that he had simply taken the wrong boat and why would he steal it and then park it in front of his home?
Earlier, however, Seitz had enlisted the help of a friend to get the boat started. He had also told his buddy that he was confiscating the boat because a $10,000 drug debt had not been paid.
As Seitz tried to talk his way out of his predicament, the police officer quipped it was, “one of the worst lies he’s ever heard.”
The boat was found heavily scratched and the ignition was also damaged. As part of his plea agreement, Seitz will repay Pacificus Biological $1,542 in restitution for the damages.
During the first year of his conditional sentence, Seitz will be under house arrest 24/7 and cannot consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs. He can go out with the permission of his supervisor as well as to work or for medical appointments.
During the second year of the sentence, Seitz is bound by a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
Supreme Justice Christopher Grauer said a jail sentence would normally be appropriate in Seitz’ case, but given his medical condition, the judge approved of the sentence. Sutton noted that Seitz has struggled with alcoholism, but he’s been “clean and sober” for the past year.
“Ordinarily, I wouldn’t look for a conditional sentence order in the circumstances before me; I would look to a sentence of custody,” said Justice Grauer. “I wish you only the best.”