March 23rd, 2017

Nine-month sentence for man who pled guilty to break and enters


By Peggy Revell on March 20, 2017.

prevell@medicinehatnews.com @MHNprevell

A young man was sentenced to nine months in jail Monday for over a dozen break and enters at rural commercial properties.

The sentence was a joint submission from Crown and defence counsel for Cole Rath, age 24, who pled guilty to the break and enters and thefts that took place over a seven-month period in 2014.

Rath and a co-accused were arrested in late November 2014, after Redcliff RCMP responded to a suspicious vehicle on a rural road. While conducting a vehicle stop, police noted that the truck tires and Rath’s shoes were similar to tire and shoe tracks left at the scene of break and enters.

Rath admitted to police about committing the various break and enters, including ones that police had not known about.

These incidents included stealing numerous items —  tools, wire, electronics, fuel, generators and more — mainly from rural commercial properties.

One incident included the theft of tools and copper wire from storage containers at the site where the City of Medicine Hat was erecting wind turbines.

Rath apologized to all the victims he had wronged when given a chance to address the court.

“I was very mixed up at the time and didn’t realize it,” he said.

Rath “lacked insight into the impact of the offences,” said defence counsel Lyndon Heidinger, but once taken into custody by police he was honest with them, even directing them to other incidents that were not on the radar.

The break and enters were done to feed a substance abuse problem, said Heidinger which has stemmed back to Rath’s youth. As well, there was undiagnosed mental health issues. Rath has been taking steps address these issues, said Heidinger, and so that he can return to the community upon his release.

A number of the stolen items were recovered by police, while Rath will also be aiming to pay back just over $18,000 towards the victims, as per a compensation order.

Crown told the court that in cases similar to this one, the range of sentencing can be anywhere from six months to three or four years — but cases which are at the two year sentencing mark, the accused have significant criminal records for property-related crimes.

This is not the case for Rath, said the Crown, whose record includes only one breach of his release conditions.

The co-accused, Kurtis Baumgardt, entered guilty pleas and was sentenced in October to two years in jail for the break and enters — although this sentence also included time for a charge of oxycodone trafficking.


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