An 18-year-old was given a conditional discharge and probation after pleading guilty to possessing numerous pieces of ice fishing gear stolen from Sylvan Lake huts last winter.
Logan William Graham, of Sylvan Lake, pleaded guilty to nine counts of possession of stolen property in Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday.
Crown prosecutor Murray McPherson said Graham was not accused of breaking into the 15 to 20 shacks at Honeymoon Bay himself. But when RCMP searched his home as part of their investigation, they found numerous items from the Jan. 24 thefts, including an ice auger, fish finder, underwater fish viewing system, heating element and axe.
The goods were allegedly given to him by a 17-year-old friend, who is also facing charges, and Graham knew they were stolen.
Defence lawyer Will Willms said his client had turned 18 only two weeks before the ice huts were broken into. He took full responsibility for accepting the stolen goods and made no attempt to contest the charges.
“It was stupid and he acknowledges it,” Willms told provincial court Judge Jim Mitchell.
Graham is a talented multi-sport athlete, a good student and had no prior criminal record. He has no “rational explanation” for getting involved with the crime, Willms added.
“It is incredibly unfortunate he is starting his adult life in this fashion.”
Mitchell gave Graham credit for his early guilty pleas and clean record and gave him a conditional discharge, with one-year’s probation and 60 days of community service. He was ordered to stay away from the youth who allegedly gave him the stolen goods. If Graham completes his sentence, he will not have a criminal record.
The judge said the charges are serious and there would be far fewer thieves if there weren’t people willing to accept stolen goods.
“These are extremely vulnerable victims,” he said, adding ice fishers trust the community not to steal from their isolated, sometimes flimsy shacks, left out on the lake so they can enjoy “such a basic, ordinary, common pleasure.”