A Vancouver Island man facing more than 60 charges, mostly related to property crimes, was given sentences equalling 44 months in Powell River Provincial Court on Sept. 8.
Michael A. Leighton of the Comox Valley had been charged first in May 2020 in relation to multiple break-and-enters in the Comox Valley following a lengthy investigation in which police were able to trace many stolen items.
“In this case, investigators were able to easily identify some of the recovered property because victims provided detailed descriptions and serial numbers during their initial report. This was particularly helpful as the investigation progressed,” a Comox Valley RCMP Street Crimes Unit member said in a news release at the time.
Following a scheduled court date, a warrant was issued for Leighton last September. The following month, RCMP in Nanaimo issued a news release saying Leighton was wanted on other charges for recent break-and-enters at storage units in the area. Among the items reported stolen were a Ruger pistol and about $40,000 in Canadian silver coins.
When he was taken in custody, he was facing more counts from other parts of Vancouver Island, including Saanich, Sidney, Esquimalt and Oak Bay, as well as a few from the Lower Mainland.
From the Comox Valley, he faced 27 charges from the initial file, along with an additional fraud charge later. The main file primarily included alleged offences such as break-and-enter and possession of stolen property. The files from southern Vancouver Island included many of the same charges along with identity theft, breach of his release conditions and trafficking in stolen property.
Facing 61 charges, Leighton remained in custody, finally pleading to many of the charges. Twenty of the charges were stayed, including some of the local possession counts, but he was sentenced on the remaining counts. Judge Ronald Lamperson’s sentences ranged from a high of 44 months for the break-ins down to three months for breaching a release order. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Leighton received 22 months credit for time spent in custody prior to sentencing, which reduced the custodial time to 22 months. He will face three years of probation following the sentence.