Long-time Okanagan offender says he's committed to staying out of trouble after recent conviction

Prolific offender 'grateful'

A long-time offender in the Okanagan was sentenced Friday for breaking into a Kelowna townhouse complex in June 2022 and stealing wedding rings, frozen meat and a car.

Ian James MacDonald, 46, has been behind bars since September 2022, following his arrest for the overnight break and enter three months prior.

He appeared in Kelowna by video feed Friday afternoon to plead guilty to a single count of breaking and entering, and Justice Nigel Kent sentenced him to 27 months in jail. But with time served, his sentence will expire in 93 days, and he'll be under probation conditions for a further three years.

The conviction stems from an overnight break-in at a townhouse complex on Glenmeadows Drive in Kelowna's Glenmore area on June 19, 2022.

A townhome and storage unit was broken into while residents slept, and MacDonald made off with thousands of dollars in items, including a large amount of frozen meat, several wedding and engagement rings and a vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered, damaged, but the other items were not.

While MacDonald said he acted more as a lookout for his accomplice in the burglary, police only located MacDonald's fingerprints at the crime scene and he was the only culprit caught on surveillance video.

MacDonald's lawyer Daniel McNamee described MacDonald's criminal record as “terrible,” but highlighted his tragic upbringing and his willingness to improve his life. He noted MacDonald has maintained his sobriety while incarcerated, something he hasn't been able to do in the past.

McNamee and Crown prosecutor Catherine Gagnon presented a joint submission, seeking the 27-month sentence, and Justice Kent was quick to go along with it.

“You can if you like, I'm going to accept your joint submission,” Justice Kent told McNamee when McNamee started to read through some relevant case law during his sentencing submissions. “Just put on the record whatever you feel you want to put on the record and we'll get on with it.

“Both of you are assuring me that a 27-month proposed sentence is well within the appropriate range for a person of these circumstance and having regard to the circumstances of the offence ... that's really all I need to hear.”

MacDonald addressed Justice Kent himself, to apologize for his actions and speak about his hope for the future after he obtained his welding ticket while incarcerated at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

“I'm pretty confident to say I'm in a better head space ... I feel like I'm definitely going to succeed and I know I've got the tools and the power to be able to stay out of this revolving door that I used to live in,” MacDonald said.

“It's going to an ongoing chore to do for sure, but I'm not giving up. Anything from this day on is going to be nothing but moving forward. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had in here and the things I've gotten in here. I have a chance now.”

While the victims in the theft had sought a restitution order from Justice Kent, to try and get repaid some of their losses that wasn't covered by insurance, the judge declined to make the order, saying there was “no utility” in making the order as MacDonald isn't in a financial position to pay.

Instead, MacDonald's lawyer McNamee said MacDonald would try and track down one of the stolen wedding rings once he's released from custody and try and get it returned.

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