Paroled thief back in slammer

A kidnapping charge was dropped against a Calgary man who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to robbing a Red Deer woman and stealing her car.

A kidnapping charge was dropped against a Calgary man who pleaded guilty on Wednesday to robbing a Red Deer woman and stealing her car.

Christopher Heggen, 27, pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial on Wednesday to robbery with the threat of violence, theft of property worth more than $5,000, evading police, dangerous driving and possession of crack cocaine.

He appeared via closed-circuit TV from the Red Deer Remand Centre.

Paroled early in December from a prison sentence he was serving for a previous robbery conviction, Heggen has been held in custody since his arrest in Red Deer on Jan. 2.

Police had responded that night to complaints that a man had kidnapped a 60-year-old woman, used her bank card to get cash from her bank account and then drove away with her car.

Crown Prosecutor Murray McPherson said Heggen had earlier befriended another inmate, who put him in touch with his aunt, a Red Deer resident.

For reasons “mysterious to the court,” the woman spoke with Heggen on the phone and agreed to pick him up and give him a ride from a motel in Red Deer, said McPherson.

During the ride, she attempted to talk him into turning himself in for being unlawfully at large after he admitted to her that he had not reported to his parole officer.

At some point during the ride, Heggen got the woman’s bank card and told her to “give me the PIN number or you will get hurt.”

The woman drove to a bank and then left the car while Heggen used the card and PIN to get money from an automated teller machine. He drove away without her, later picking up a different woman and spending the money on crack cocaine, said McPherson.

A police officer watching for the victim’s missing vehicle saw Heggen and his passenger in the city’s downtown area at about 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 2.

Heggen drove away with the police car in pursuit, slowed down briefly to drop off his passenger and then took off again, driving at speeds of 80 km/h through a residential area, said McPherson.

During the pursuit, he hit a parked vehicle, sideswiped a police car, jumped a curb in an effort to escape, hit another parked vehicle and then another, which brought the vehicle to a stop.

Heggen was found to be under the influence of drugs and in possession of paraphernalia for smoking crack as well as a small quantity of the drug, said McPherson.

He was arrested at the scene on a Canada-wide warrant for parole violation, with subsequent charges laid as well.

McPherson acknowledged the merit of Heggen’s early guilty plea in agreeing to a joint submission with defence counsel Michael Scrase on a sentence recommendation.

Judge Thomas Schollie accepted their submission, sentencing Heggen to serve three and a half years in a federal prison, to begin once his current sentence has been completed.

The global sentence on the most serious charges includes three years for the robbery plus six months for evading police.

He was also sentenced to six months for dangerous driving, 30 days for possession of crack cocaine, and six months for theft of the car.

The additional sentences are to be served concurrently with the others.

Along with the prison time, Heggen’s driver’s licence is to be suspended for two years once he is released from prison, he has been ordered to submit a sample of his DNA and he is prohibited from possessing firearms for the balance of his life.