Bait car arrest first court test of tougher penalty for auto theft

A Kelowna man arrested in a bait car last week is the first person to be facing possible sanctions under a new law targeting car thieves.

A Kelowna man arrested in a bait car last week is the first person to be facing possible sanctions under a new law targeting car thieves.

Christian Denis Joseph Cote, 35, was arrested May 1 after police say a bait car was stolen from the downtown core. His arrest came two days after Bill S-9 came into effect, which deals with auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime.

“It provides for a separate punishment section for theft of motor vehicles,” said Sgt. Gord Elias, with the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team. “Anyone now convicted of stealing a motor vehicle three times or more under this new law will face a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail.”

Cote is charged with theft of a motor vehicle. If he is convicted it will effectively count has his first strike under the new law, police say.

Cote was released from custody last week and is expected back in court on May 17. The woman with him at the time has not been charged, court records show.

 

Kelowna Capital News