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Gun thief gets extra day in jail
Todd Vatcher given credit for time already spent awaiting sentencing

Shane Magee
Northern News Services
Friday, August 28, 2015

A 24-year-old man went back to jail for a day after he was sentenced Wednesday morning for possession of cocaine, breach of court orders and stealing a 12-gauge shotgun from Canadian Tire.

Todd Vatcher was given 117 days credit by Judge Bernadette Schmaltz for the 78 days he had already spent in jail since his arrest June 9 on the firearm theft charge. The theft charge was the most serious of the charges he admitted to committing, the judge said as she scolded him for his actions.

"The theft of the gun could have been - it could have ended in a way that is much more tragic," she said.

The court heard the Chiappa Survival Series weapon was found June 11 by a 17-year-old in a crawl space under the home of the mother of Vatcher's ex-girlfriend. Crown prosecutor Trevor Johnson said there is no evidence it had been fired or loaded.

According to an agreed statement of facts Johnson read to the judge, Vatcher and Beau Desire-Tesar walked into Canadian Tire at about 8 p.m. May 25 and went to the aisle with firearms. They broke into the locked display case. Vatcher put the shotgun under his clothes and they walked out of the store without paying. A Rossi Ranch Hand rifle was also stolen.

Desire-Tesar has pleaded guilty to theft of a firearm but has not yet been sentenced.

On Oct. 9 last year, Vatcher was subject to a list of court-ordered conditions. Court heard Wednesday how he violated several of those, resulting in charges.

He admitted he didn't attend family violence counselling as directed. He also only completed 10 hours of the 120 hours of community service time.

Then on April 27, RCMP officers carrying out an arrest warrant for those violations caught him with a woman who he was under orders not to contact.

Vatcher was also sentenced on a charge of possession of cocaine dating to Nov. 30 of last year.

An RCMP officer performed a traffic stop at the Esso gas station. There was the scent of marijuana so the officer arrested Vatcher. A search found a bag with powder cocaine weighing 0.7 grams.

Defence lawyer Alanhea Vogt told Schmaltz that Vatcher has strong support from his family. His mother, who wept during portions of the sentencing hearing, and two siblings were present in the public gallery.

Vatcher only has a Grade 10 education and is unemployed, Vogt told the judge. He has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction.

"Upon his arrest, he was a shadow of the person you see today," Vogt said, indicating that since he's been in custody he has gone through withdrawal which left him ill for a month. She said his mother has seen a marked improvement with her son while he has been in custody.

Vogt said Vatcher plans to seek treatment for his addictions.

Schmaltz urged him to follow through on that, saying it is clear his actions were causing a tough time for his family.

Vatcher was prohibited from possessing firearms, cross bows or ammo for five years and must pay a $500 victims of crime fine.

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