A 25-year-old man who stole more than $8,000 from a trailer and fled the scene with the cash stuffed in his underwear has been sentenced to two years of probation.
Acting as his own counsel on Friday, April 5, in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops, Stephen Smith pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 in connection to the offence that occurred at a residence in the G&M Trailer Park in June of 2017.
The trailer park is located off Highway 5, across from Sun Rivers.
Outlining the circumstances of the incident, Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan told the court what Smith told him.
Flanagan said Smith became aware of the money in the mobile home while at a party at which he overheard the resident, whom he did not know, talking about the cash.
At 5:30 a.m. on June 21, 2017, Smith broke into the man’s trailer through a bedroom window, found the $8,100 in the pocket of a ski-doo suit and stuffed it in his underwear, Flanagan told court.
Smith’s presence in the home was discovered by a 12-year-old boy who was home alone at the time, as his parents had just left for work, Flanagan said.
Smith told Flanagan he apologized to the boy and left the residence.
The boy described Smith’s departure to Flanagan with the expression, “He booted it out of there,” after which the boy called police.
Fleeing the scene, Smith attempted to swim across the South Thompson River, but RCMP officers fished him out of the water and the $8,000 was found in his underwear.
In speaking with Smith, Flanagan said the accused didn’t seem interested in heading to trial and wanted to resolve the court matter.
“Mr. Smith is a person who really is trying to get himself on a better path,” Flanagan said, noting he comes from a background of crime and wants to break away from it.
Flanagan also pointed to mitigating factors — the fact Smith pleaded guilty, regretted his actions and acknowledged how serious they were.
“He [Smith] tells me, and he’s very frank about it, he was desperate and this, to him, was an opportunity for easy money. It’s not something he’s proud of,” Flanagan told the court.
Smith told the court he is interested in the trades and is working with an employment program to help him find stable work. He also submitted to the court multiple letters of support from friends and family and one from himself detailing circumstances that led to the theft.
Justice Sherri Donegan accepted the Crown’s submission, with which Smith was in agreement, to place him on a two-year probation order — a condition of which will involve writing a letter of apology to the people from whom he stole.
“I’ll put your mind at ease. You’re both pushing on an open door here,” Donegan said. “I’m very much in favour of what’s been proposed as a sentence. I’m not going to put you in jail.”
“I’m happy to hear that,” Smith replied.