Bowden prison employee fined for stealing gas

A Bowden Institution officer caught stealing gas from his employer avoided a jail term after pleading guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.

A Bowden Institution officer caught stealing gas from his employer avoided a jail term after pleading guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.

Innisfail RCMP were called the morning after an incident at the prison at about 11:15 p.m. last Aug. 21, Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said in reading the statement of facts. Bell told court that a fellow officer at the prison saw Michael Grimberg, 45, put some gas in a jerry can while fueling a work truck. He then placed the jerry can in the box of the truck.

A second officer then saw Grimberg take a jerry can from the truck box and place it in the trunk of his personal vehicle, said Bell.

Grimberg confessed when confronted and admitted to committing the same theft on “three or four” prior occasions, for a total value of about $150, he said.

Defence counsel John MacNaughton said his client, a 15-year employee with the prison, had been going through a difficult time as the sole supporter of his mother, who had fallen ill.

He pointed out that his client has no criminal record and that, prior to Aug. 21, there were no disciplinary actions on his work record.

He said his client admitted to the theft immediately and offered to pay for the gas he had stolen.

Documents describing internal discipline were submitted to the court, along with letters of support from Grimberg’s supervisors. Details of the sanctions Grimberg faced at work were not read in open court.

Because of the breach of trust, theft from an employer almost always requires a period of incarceration, said Judge Gordon Deck.

However, in most cases, the amounts are considerably higher and Grimberg also deserves credit for his remorse and for his early guilty plea, said Deck.

He ordered that Grimberg pay a fine of $1,500 plus a victims of crimes surcharge.

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