A man’s crime spree grew out of stress and homelessness, not drug abuse, he said after pleading guilty in a Kamloops court Friday to eight charges of assault, theft, mischief and breach of probation.
Kyle Esau, 24, had no criminal record before committing a series of offences that began late last year.
On Dec. 2, 2012, Esau broke into a vehicle on Victoria Street and stole cheques and gift certificates from Ric’s Grill.
When he attempted to purchase $200 worth of food with the stolen certificates the next day, Esau was arrested, charged and released on the condition he regularly report. He soon stopped reporting, though.
The next incident occurred early in the year at Sears at Aberdeen Mall, where a loss prevention officer caught him stealing socks and a jacket. He told those who apprehended him: “You try living outside in the cold. I needed a jacket.”
On April 4, Esau was caught again, this time stealing an iPod docking station from The Source. Then it was London Drugs, where he was walking about eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream with his hand. Before he left the store, he stole an SPCA donation box, which was never recovered.
April 14, Esau was charged with an assault at the Downtown Y after he approached his mother and stepfather. He said he wanted their help in cashing a cheque but they refused him. He threw a glass in the lobby, struck his stepfather with his fist and then spat on him.
Not long after that, Esau went to the house of a friend where he had stayed earlier before there was a falling out. Esau stood outside waving a knife and threatening the man. He was chased away by a girlfriend after he threw rocks and broke windows on the home and a vehicle.
When Esau was arrested on April 25, Crown wanted him detained in custody, but a judge released him on curfew conditions since he had no record. He was supposed to reside at the Men’s Christian Hostel, but there was no record of him staying there.
He’s been in custody since his arrest May 7.
Defence counsel Jeremy Jensen said Esau is adamant his sudden turn to crime has nothing to do with drugs.
“He said he finds himself homeless,” Jensen said. “He has two dogs he considered children. They were taken away and put down, and that caused him stress.”
Esau had obtained housing by late April, but his arrest has put that in jeopardy, Jensen said. In a joint submission with Crown, he asked for a short jail sentence to enable his client to arrange funding to continue his tenancy.
The man’s denial of drug abuse surprised Judge Chris Cleavely. Even Crown counsel theorized before Friday’s decision that Esau’s offences fit a pattern consistent with drug abuse.
“I have no excuse for it,” Esau told the court. “I was really out of anger … I don’t have that coping mechanism.”
The judge sentenced him to 30 days’ jail on each of the charges, to be served concurrently with credit for time served. That should have Esau released in time to secure his housing. He was also given strict conditions, including a curfew and an order to attend psychiatric assessment, counselling and anger management sessions.
“You can’t allow yourself to fall back into that situation again,” Judge Cleavely told him. He also told the man to apologize to his stepfather.