Wheels of justice turn shockingly fast for petty thief

In what is breakneck speed for the B.C. court system, a View Royal man was sentenced to jail 10 hours after being arrested

In what is breakneck speed for the B.C. court system, a View Royal man was sentenced to jail 10 hours after being arrested for trying to break into cars Thursday morning.

In the early morning of July 19, officers with the regional crime unit (RCU) had Jonathan Daniel Ross under surveillance. Police say the 32-year-old prowled around several residential properties trying door handles of cars parked in driveways. At one home, he looked in a mailbox for uncollected mail.

Unsuccessful at any vehicle break-ins, he was arrested in the 100-block of Cheltenham St. in View Royal while riding away on a bicycle, and was charged with attempted theft and trespass at night.

Less than 10 hours later at Western Community Courthouse, he pleaded guilty to trespassing and received 90 days in jail and one year of probation, with a condition that he can’t be anywhere within the boundaries of View Royal.

Most offenders, even for petty crimes, often appear in court multiple times before reaching a point of entering a plea. Only a few hours after submitting the charges to Crown counsel, a probation order for Ross landed on the desk of Staff Sgt. Gary Schenk, which he thought was a clerical error.

“In 25 years of policing I’ve not seen a case progress from arrest to sentencing that quickly. It is very unusual, it was very surprising to see,” said Schenk, commander of the RCU. “I don’t recall a case where someone is sentenced on first appearance.”

Schenk didn’t attend court due to the fact that judges usually set hearing dates for bail or entering a plea for people making a first appearance. It’s unclear what happened in court yesterday to have Ross’s case wrap up so quickly.

The RCU, which targets prolific offenders across Greater Victoria, had Ross under surveillance due to a increase in thefts near where he lived in the Burnside Road area.

Schenk said Ross, a drug addict, had moved into a residence with other known offenders, which had coincided with a number of thefts from vehicles and sheds in nearby neighbourhoods in Saanich and View Royal.

Apparently not wanting to stray far from home, Ross has been found guilty of a number of crimes based in View Royal, including possession of stolen property and theft in February and April this year. He was also found guilty of possession of stolen property last October.

editor@saanichnews.com