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Penticton  

Burglar: Jail 'offered a lot'

A Penticton burglar with an “unenviable” criminal record thanked programming at the Okanagan Correctional Centre for help turning his life around Monday, as he was sentenced to two years in prison for a break-and-enter and theft of a car. 

Ian MacDonald, 40, appeared in Penticton Supreme Court to plead guilty to one count of break-and-enter, one count of theft under $5,000 and breaching his probation. 

Court heard he broke into a home on Blairmore Cres. on Aug. 8, 2018, stealing a TV, computer and Toyota Corolla out of the driveway. Investigators linked him to the scene with fingerprints found inside the home and on the stolen property that was recovered later that day. 

Defence lawyer Michael Patterson admitted his client has an “unenviable” criminal record dating back the past 15 years, explaining MacDonald has struggled with various addictions during that time. 

But since his arrest in August 2018, Patterson said MacDonald has thrown himself headfirst into the programming available to him at OCC in Oliver. Court heard MacDonald has completed enough hours behind bars to complete his first year of a welding apprenticeship. 

Because of those rehabilitation efforts, the Crown agreed to present Justice Gary Weatherill with a joint submission — two years prison and two year probation — which was accepted by the judge after comments from the accused.

“What happened this time… I look at this record, this is no way to spend a life. Why is this different?” Weatherill asked MacDonald, holding up his record containing more than 120 convictions. 

“OCC has offered me a lot, I’ve never met a jail in my whole life that helps,” MacDonald said, explaining it took him a long time to understand his criminal activity and addiction were one of the same.

“This criminal addictive thinking, I thought that my only problem was that I have to stop doing drugs. The problem is, I’d stop doing drugs and couldn’t figure out — there is still something there,” he said. “I realized that criminal addictive thinking go hand-in-hand… it just becomes a way of living.”

He told the judge his last period of clean, crime-free living was broken when his marriage fell apart and he lost contact with his child. 

“I realized that I did that [stay clean] for my child. Unfortunately, when it comes to recovery you can’t do it for anybody or anything, it’s got to be done for yourself. That’s the selfish part,” he added.

While he never welded before entering prison, MacDonald said he finds it extremely satisfying, adding he’s now “addicted to my work.”

“Your heartfelt comments to me Mr. MacDonald give me some hope that you have indeed turned your life around,” Justice Weatherill said as he handed down the sentence.

After credit for time already served, MacDonald has 404 days left on his sentence.



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