A Brandon man has learned a lesson in making better choices in the form of a fine for stealing a school bus.
His mode of transportation made it easy for police to track him down, Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta noted.
“I can’t think of a more conspicuous vehicle, frankly, for somebody to steal than a big yellow school bus,” Hewitt-Michta said.
Lionel Joseph Leonard Young, 28, of Brandon was sentenced on Thursday in Brandon provincial court.
Young’s lawyer, Ryan Fawcett, outlined the events that led to the unusual theft.
Fawcett said his client was in an Alberta motel room when he was robbed of all his belongings and left penniless.
Young then began a cross-country trek back to Brandon, which began with a 60-km walk to the nearest town.
Living on a diet that included crab apples, Young then hopped onto a train car and made it to Moose Jaw, Sask., and came across the school bus on Sept. 3.
At the time, RCMP described the bus as a spare that had been parked at a rural property near Moose Jaw. It was reported stolen at around 2 p.m.
Following court, Young indicated that the keys had been left inside when he took it.
In court, Crown attorney Marnie Evans said someone spotted the bus going east along the Trans-Canada Highway and called White Butte RCMP.
The bus was stopped near McLean, Sask., and the lone occupant, Young, was arrested. He admitted to stealing the bus.
He pleaded guilty on Thursday to motor vehicle theft, plus two unrelated charges of breach of probation.
Hewitt-Michta fined Young $2,500 for the theft. He received a one-year suspended sentence, a form of probation, for the breach charges.