By Trevor Busch
An 18-year-old local man connected to a recent string of thefts and break and enters in the community has been sentenced to over two and half years of incarceration.
In Taber provincial court on Aug. 29, Jacob B. Fickell pled guilty to break, enter and theft, mischief, dangerous driving, three counts of break and enter with intent, four counts of possession of stolen property, two counts of resisting a peace officer, and two counts of breach of conditions. Further charges of possession of stolen property, obstructing a peace officer, theft of a motor vehicle, breach of conditions, and theft under $5,000 were withdrawn by the Crown.
Crown prosecutor Conor Doyle detailed the facts of separate incidents for the court.
On the early morning of April 14, 2017, officers of the Taber Police Service responded to a report from a homeowner of a break and enter in progress at a residence in the community. The accused had entered the home and the resident’s bedroom while they were asleep.
After waking the homeowners, Fickell fled the residence with a stolen laptop and purse, valued at a total of $1,300. According to Doyle, police also learned the accused had earlier broken into a neighbouring residence. Upon approaching the area, officers observed an individual fitting the description of Fickell, who proceeded to flee the vicinity. Officers pursued the accused through a playground before he jumped a residential fence into a yard, and was able to temporarily evade police. A police dog was brought in for the search, and a collection of the accused’s clothing was located two blocks north, along with a stolen credit card, gift card, and a driver’s license. Fickell was also determined to be in violation of a court-ordered curfew at the time of the incident. The accused was later located and questioned about his involvement, where he also admitted to having been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident in breach of a court order prohibiting him from the purchase, possession or consumption of the substance. Fickell was charged with various offences.
Just after midnight on April 20, 2017, the accused was involved in an incident reported by a driver near the Provincial Building which included another curfew violation as well as an alcohol breach. When taken into custody by police, the accused became enraged, spitting inside the patrol vehicle, and on the vehicle camera. The accused was charged with various offences.
Then on the early morning of July 1, 2017, according to Doyle, officers of the Taber Police Service responded to a report of an individual inside a residence, with several witnesses spotting an individual fitting the description of Fickell later fleeing the area outside the home. Officers later arrived at the residence of the accused for a curfew check, and determined that the accused was not inside the home. Another resident of the home reported a quantity of liquor was also missing, as well as a vehicle that had been taken without permission. Also stolen that same morning was a mailbox key from an adjacent residence, which was later found in the possession of the accused. Several hours later, officers of the Taber/Vauxhall RCMP detachment responded to a report of a residential break in just outside the community. Fickell fled the location in the vehicle stolen earlier, which was followed by the resident of the home to a rural road off Huckleberry Road from which there was no exit, where the resident parked blocking the approach exit and observed the vehicle being operated by the accused. Fickell eventually returned at a high rate of speed, appearing like he was going to ram the resident’s vehicle, according to Doyle, before veering off through the ditch, losing control and striking a tree. The accused then fled the area on foot, and police dogs were again brought in for the search. Fickell was attempting to steal another vehicle when he was stopped by officers and taken into custody. The accused was also determined to have been consuming alcohol in breach of a court order, as well as his curfew, and was charged accordingly.
Fickell was later determined to have been responsible for another break and enter to a residential garage that same morning, where a vehicle had been entered, and a quantity of cash totaling around $100 was removed. The accused was subsequently also charged with that offence.
During sentencing, the court learned Fickell suffers from an alcohol addiction, which fueled the motivation for a number of his criminal actions.
In addition to a 31 month sentence, Judge Krinke ordered the accused to surrender a sample of his DNA for the National DNA Data Bank, as well as issuing a one year driving prohibition. Fickell’s victim-fine surcharges were ordered satisfied by his appearance in court. The accused will also be subject to a 10-year weapons prohibition.