A Vernon man with a long history of breaking and entering will spend nearly a year behind bars for crimes committed in Vernon earlier this year.
Vincent Silas Maxwell pleaded guilty to one count of breaking and entering with intent to commit an offence and one count of possession of stolen property (PSP) at the Vernon law courts Wednesday, Nov. 4. Judge Richard Hewson sentenced Maxwell to 18 months in jail followed by 18 months probation.
Maxwell had 237 days of credit for time spent in custody, meaning he’ll serve a total of 303 days in jail.
The court heard that on May 31 at 10:15 a.m., a woman returned to her home on 43rd Street in Vernon and discovered an unknown man inside. When she saw the man, she screamed, and the intruder panicked and ran out the back door of the house. The woman then yelled out to two men who were with her, who ran to the back yard in search of the intruder. One of them managed to trip the intruder and the two pinned him down until police arrived.
The intruder was identified as Maxwell, who initially resisted arrest but was detained after a brief struggle.
Later that day, video surveillance footage tied Maxwell to a separate incident in the same part of town at around the same time. A homeowner on Okanagan Avenue had reported a Google Home device had been stolen from her back yard. Police observed the surveillance footage and observed the suspect wearing the same clothing as Maxwell from that morning’s arrest. The device was found in Maxwell’s possession and seized.
The Crown noted Maxwell has a significant criminal record with 57 convictions since 2004, including seven break and enters.
Defence lawyer Nicholas Jacob said the 36-year-old has been through many challenges in his life, having been “basically on his own since the age of 15,” and having been a victim of sexual assault during his formative years. The court heard that while in custody, the 36-year-old from Prince George has undertaken drug and addiction treatment programs and enrolled in a woodworking course, learning skills he hopes to use to find employment upon his release.
“His plan for the future is simply to stay off drugs, try and get a job in the carpentry industry and at 36 years of age to start fresh,” Jacob said.
Under his probation order, Maxwell must not make contact with the complainant in his PSP charge, must not be within 50 metres of the 43rd Street property and must attend drug and alcohol counselling. He was also given a mandatory five-year firearms ban.
Defence lawyer Nicholas Jacob initially asked that there be no mandated drug and alcohol treatment on Maxwell’s probation order, to reduce the chance of him getting caught in a “cycle of incarceration.” But when Hewson put the question to Maxwell himself, he said he was in favour of the condition.
“I want to do something like that so I can get out and actually do something, instead of getting out and doing drugs,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell was the subject of a police search in 2016 when he was wanted by the Vernon RCMP for being unlawfully at large.