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Co-accused decides to plead guilty ahead of jury trial

Forgoing a jury trial that started Monday afternoon, one of the co-accused chose instead to plead guilty to four charges related to break-ins of Red Deer business in February 2013.

Christopher William Davis, 36, of Sylvan Lake pleaded guilty in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday morning before Justice Adam Germain.

Davis was scheduled to stand trial with his co-accused, Jaret Szoke, starting Monday afternoon with jury selection in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Wearing a short-sleeved polo shirt and holding his hands in front of him, Davis stood in the prisoner’s box as the clerk read the charges to him.

He pleaded guilty to four charges: two break and enter and thefts and one each of breach of an undertaking and possession of break-in instruments, including a lock pick set.

On Feb. 17, 2013, he got into the Petrolite in Edgar Industrial park and using a pry-bar, opened up an ATM and stole money there.

Less than a week later, on Feb. 23, he broke into the Peavey Mart on Gaetz Avenue and disabled the alarm system by ripping the phone line out of the circuits. The safe containing the cash till boxes was stolen, as well as about $12,000 worth of tools.

An RCMP investigation led them to suspect Davis and they began surveillance on him. On Feb. 27, 2013, they were observing a residence in Sylvan Lake and saw two people load tools into a pickup truck. They pursued and pulled the vehicle over, arresting Davis and the other occupant of the vehicle.

Police found some of the tools stolen from Peavey Mart in the vehicle, as well as break-in equipment. A search warrant was obtained for the Sylvan Lake residence and police found a number of the items stolen from Peavey Mart, as well as the cash till boxes.

After saying yes to all the charges read to him, Davis said: “I am guilty.”

Davis’s counsel Michael Scrase said he would like to keep his guilty plea separate from Szoke’s trial on these matters so as not to influence the judge in Szoke’s trial should he be convicted.

Sentencing for Davis is scheduled for Monday afternoon, after jury selection wraps up for the Szoke trial.

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