Undercover police officers and Innisfail RCMP recover $65,000 in musical instruments stolen from Red Deer County and charge two men. (RCMP photo)

Nine-month jail setence after theft of $65,000 of musical instruments

Undercover police and Innisfail RCMP arrested man for possessing $65,000 worth of stolen instruments

Judge W.A. Skinner scolded a Halkirk man in Stettler provincial circuit court for helping his cousin try to sell $65,000 worth of musical instruments in Edmonton that were stolen from a Red Deer business.

“Sixty-five thousand dollars goes missing, that puts a lot of businesses under,” said Skinner in Stettler court.

“People are trying to scratch out a living here and people like you come along. You were involved in fencing this property and that is just as bad.”

Justin James Schilling, 26, was sentenced to nine months in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of $65,000 in stolen musical instruments, shop breaking with intent and a few more older charges.

Crown prosecutor Bruce Ritter said Schilling, and his co-accused Brandon Wegner, were arrested Jan. 17 and charged with the Jan. 15 break and enter of a music studio building in Red Deer County.

The pair was arrested after an Edmonton retailer refused to buy the instruments from Wegner on Jan. 16. The retailer took photos of the instruments and contacted police.

Undercover officers called Wegner, who was going by the name Cosmo Kramer, and arranged a meeting in Red Deer to buy the instruments.

The undercover officers met Wegner and Schilling at Tim Hortons on Jan. 17 and they were arrested. Schilling was the driver of the truck and Wegner was the passenger.

Police had a search warrant and seized the vehicle and recovered the instruments.

Ritter said Wegner gave a statement after he was arrested and the two co-accused were “pointing the finger at each other.”

Defence lawyer Mark Daoust told the court Schilling suffers from addiction, depression and anxiety-related issues.

“He recognizes that he screwed up and he is here to plead guilty.”

Schilling, who appeared in Stettler court via closed-circuit camera from the Red Deer remand centre, apologized to the court.

“I’m sorry. Now that I’m back on my pills, I realize I did a stupid thing.”

His co-accused, Brandon Wegner, 28, is scheduled to appear in Red Deer provincial court Feb. 6 to enter a plea.



lisa.joy@stettlerindependent.com

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