A car thief who crashed a pickup truck into a fence during a police chase has got a break in the form of house arrest, instead of jail.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta granted a conditional sentence for the apologetic car thief, citing the strides he’s taken to improve his life.
“I put myself, the community in danger and I’m very, very, very sorry,” Anthony Shane Catagas told Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta in court this week.
Catagas, 22, pleaded guilty in May to motor vehicle theft and flight from police and was sentenced on Monday.
In the early morning of Dec. 3, police received a report that a pickup truck had been stolen from the 600-block of Dennis Street where it had been parked.
Forty minutes later, police spotted the stolen truck as it travelled south in the 500-block of 12th Street.
A chase ensued in which the truck ran the stop sign at the corner of Sixth Street and Park Avenue. The driver, Catagas, then jumped out of the moving truck which crashed into a fence in the 1100-block of Fifth Street.
Catagas then ran but police were able to identify him on the basis of their previous dealings with him.
The car thief made it easy on police to track him down, though — he flagged them down in the street on Dec. 11 and confessed to stealing the truck.
In court, Crown attorney Grant Hughes asked for 15 months real jail time, but Hewitt-Michta agreed instead to a conditional sentence as requested by defence lawyer Bob Harrison.
That decision was based largely on a pre-sentence report that showed Catagas has taken steps to improve himself.
Catagas has numerous previous offences on his record which includes car theft, impaired driving causing bodily harm and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
He says alcohol has played a role in his past offending.
The night of the Dec. 3 chase, he’d been drinking so much that he’d had a “blackout”— he couldn’t recall why he stole the truck. He said he’d been drinking to cope with the death of a relative.
Hughes said police didn’t note that Catagas was impaired and he wasn’t charged with drunk driving.
However, according to the pre-sentence report, he’s since sought help from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and stopped drinking.
He’s also shown remorse for the truck theft and said he surrendered to police out of guilt.
He’s also secured a full-time job and offered to pay for any damage he caused, even though there was no request made for restitution.
Hewitt-Michta also noted that probation has downgraded Catagas from a very high risk to reoffend to a high risk to reoffend.
The judge imposed 19 months house arrest with addictions counselling and 75 hours community service work, to be followed by one year of probation.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 26, 2012