Crime spree results in two year sentence

A young Cranbrook man will spend two years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to 17 charges resulting from a four-month crime spree.

A young Cranbrook man will spend two years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to 17 charges resulting from a four-month crime spree in Kimberley, Cranbrook, Creston and Crawford Bay.

Curtis Paleologopoulos, 22, was in custody in Cranbrook Provincial Court on Wednesday, Nov. 28 facing charges including four charges of theft of a motor vehicle, three charges of theft, three charges of break and enter, four charges of breach of probation, one charge of possession of stolen property, one charge of assault and one charge of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

The offenses began in July when someone broke into a home in Kimberley and stole gold jewellery. In September, Paleologopoulos went to a pawn store in Cranbrook in an attempt to sell 12 items of gold jewellery, four of which were identified as being items stolen from the Kimberley home.

Also in July, Paleologopoulos stole a bottle of gin from a Cranbrook liquor store.

In September, a motor vehicle was stolen from the driveway of a home in Kimberley. Paleologopoulos’ fingerprints were found inside and outside the vehicle.

Many of the charges stemmed from a crime spree on October 18. Paleologopoulos stole a vehicle in Kimberley and drove it to Creston. It was found abandoned at Creston Valley Hospital. He then stole another vehicle from a home in Creston, as well as a women’s purse and a backpack containing knives from the owner’s second vehicle.

With another person who has not been identified, Paleologopoulos drove the stolen vehicle to Crawford Bay where they unintentionally crashed after falling asleep at the wheel.

They walked to a nearby residence, broke in and stole several items, including jewellery, a case of valuable historic money, and bear spray. They also used the hot tub at that home, but did not take a safe because Paleologopoulos said it would be disrespectful to the owners.

The pair walked to another home, where they broke into a shed and slept on a folded tarp.

Then they walked to a third property, broke in and cooked food. They returned to the first home and stole a vehicle.

That vehicle was found in Kimberley two days later.

On Oct. 28, Paleologopoulos was seen rifling through a vehicle by its owner, who confronted him. Paleologopoulos sprayed him with bear spray, saying the man was “bigger and scarier” than he is and didn’t keep his distance.

The next day, Paleologopoulos was found with bear spray when he was arrested by RCMP.

The breach of probation charges stemmed from times in May and June when Paleologopoulos broke a court-ordered curfew, and his failure to pay a court-ordered fine in August.

Defense counsel Rick Strahl asked Judge Ron Webb to impose a two-year sentence for Paleologopoulos because that is the minimum required for the man to be sent to a federal institution, where he hopes to take advantage of drug and alcohol treatment programs and training.

Judge Webb agreed to a two-year global sentence for Paleologopoulos, combined for all 17 charges.

“You’re only 22 but it seems every time you show up out of jail you do something stupid,” Judge Webb told Paleologopoulos. “Essentially, a) you probably need to leave town and b) you need to grow up.”

The young man agreed, saying that he plans to move to Toronto after he is released from jail, and that many people in Cranbrook would be happy to see him go.

“You’ve got a terrible record and a reputation in the community that’s bad if not worse. You’ve got to decide if you want to get a fresh start,” said Judge Webb.

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