It looks like leaving your car unlocked in Brandon is asking for trouble.
Although, a judge who sentenced a teen caught with property stolen from unlocked vehicles says citizens shouldn’t have to worry.
“People should have the right to expect that their motor vehicles are not going to be rummaged through and items stolen,” Judge John Combs said.
The youth, now 16 years old, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a single count of possession of stolen property in answer to a series of charges.
Crown attorney Garry Rainnie said police were called to a group home on Clement Drive by one of the employees on Sept. 5.
The employee handed over a number of items believed to have been stolen out of unlocked vehicles that were parked in the area.
The thieves were reported to be two 15-year-old group home residents, Rainnie said.
Rainnie didn’t expand on the group home but, based on previous court cases, it’s one of a number of group homes or foster homes run by the same organization.
There appear to be at least three to four homes in various parts of Brandon, and one at or near Souris.
They’ve housed a number of troubled youth, some of them reputed to have ties to aboriginal street gangs. A number of the homes’ young residents have appeared in court in recent years to face various charges.
In this case, there was no mention of any gang ties for the youth, who had no previous criminal record.
Rainnie told court that a number of unlocked vehicles were entered between Aug. 1 and Sept. 4.
Two to three thieves stole items such as loose change, wallets, identification, credit cards and purses.
In total, eight credit cards were taken, but the youth who pleaded guilty on Tuesday had told the group home program manager that he hadn’t had the chance to use them.
The teen had hidden the cards and other stolen items in a small hole in the ceiling of the group home.
While some of the stolen goods were found, $85 was still missing from a purse that was swiped.
Combs gave the teen a chance to maintain a clean record with a nine-month conditional discharge with orders to do 20 hours of community service work and to pay back the $85 from the purse.