Guilty pleas issued for thefts

Incidents occurred in Vernon, Armstrong, Kamloops, Merritt and Saskatchewan.

  • Feb. 2, 2017 8:00 p.m.
Police responded to a number of thefts across the region

Police responded to a number of thefts across the region

Tim Petruk

Kamloops This Week

The Crown is seeking a five-year prison sentence for a Saskatchewan man who admitted to his role in a violent collision and subsequent carjacking last spring in downtown Kamloops.

Roderick Mervin Bailey also pleaded guilty to charges stemming from 10 thefts of lottery tickets from gas stations and convenience stores in Vernon, Armstrong, Kamloops, Merritt and Saskatchewan.

Court heard Bailey, 43, started his crime spree in Saskatoon on Feb. 27, 2016, when he walked into a grocery store with his co-accused, Jodi Pechawis, and stole $500 worth of lottery scratch tickets.

The couple used a similar tactic in nearly all of the thefts, court heard — Pechawis distracted a clerk while Bailey loaded up on hundreds of dollars worth of lottery tickets before fleeing the store.

Bailey pleaded guilty to charges relating to five such thefts in Saskatchewan between late February and May 11, after which time he and Pechawis, 35, headed west in a stolen Suzuki SUV.

The couple hit stores in Armstrong and Vernon on May 23 and in Kamloops on May 24. Two days later, they ripped off stores in Kamloops and Merritt.

On May 27, Bailey and Pechawis sped away from officers in Kamloops and ended up in a collision near the city’s downtown core.

Bailey blew through a stop sign at Columbia Street and T-boned a Hyundai SUV.

Both vehicles suffered significant damage and the two people in the Hyundai were hospitalized.

A passerby stopped to offer help.

Bailey and Pechawis, both suffering minor injuries, climbed out of the Suzuki, walked past the Good Samaritan and stole his Ford Focus.

The following day, Mounties in Vernon were called to a theft of lottery tickets at a Husky gas station. Officers found Bailey crouched behind the Ford Focus. He refused to co-operate with police and was Tasered twice before being taken into custody.

Court heard Pechawis was found in the back seat of the Focus with a broken foot. She was also arrested, but later released.

She has since gone on the lam and is believed to have fled B.C.

Crown prosecutor Satinder Sidhu has asked Kamloops provincial court Judge Chris Cleaveley for a five-year prison sentence minus credit for time served. Bailey has 75 prior convictions dating back to 1986 and will have 94 once his latest guilty pleas are entered.

Defence lawyer Raj Basra, meanwhile, has recommended a sentence of two years less a day, citing abuse Bailey suffered as a youth at Saskatchewan Boys’ School.

“He’s at a crossroads in his life,” Basra said. “He wants to re-enter society and become a productive member of society.”

Bailey will be sentenced on Feb. 16. He remains in custody.