Editor's note: This story's headline has been changed to reflect that a snowblower was stolen.
A man caught with his neighbour’s stolen snowblower stashed in his yard has been handed probation after already serving a short stint in jail.
David Podolsky, 58, pleaded guilty in Brandon provincial court on Monday to possession of property obtained by crime and failing to attend court.
On Oct. 4, 2017, a homeowner on Sixth Street called police to report that a lift of lumber and a red snowblower had been stolen from his backyard and was in a driveway a street over, according to a police report.
While looking at the lumber to determine if it was his, the homeowner told police he saw a red snowblower through a hole in a tarped shed on the property that closely resembled his.
Police went to the residence and spoke with Podolsky, who allowed them to take a look at the snowblower, which had specific modifications that had previously been described by the owner.
Podolsky initially told police it had been in his possession for a long period of time, Crown attorney Deidre Badcock said, but wasn’t able to turn it on or work it for police.
The owner eventually went over to show police how to turn the snowblower on, as it was an older machine.
In a pre-sentence report, Podolsky took responsibility for the offence, but he maintained he did not know the items in his possession were stolen.
Podolsky said a person he trusted approached him with the items and he bought them for $200, the report said, and that he felt bad after "realizing what went down."
"His explanation simply doesn’t have any ring of truth to it when you look at what actually occurred," Badcock said. "This explanation really is him, from our perspective, trying to shirk his responsibilities to some extent."
Since the offence, the victim has started second-guessing the trust he had in his neighbourhood, Badcock said.
"Like so many homeowners who have been targets of property-related crime, he feels unsafe in his own home and feels that their property has been encroached on," Badcock said. "It’s something that has shaken his faith in his neighbours and in his community."
Podolsky was eventually taken into custody after he failed to attend court.
Defence lawyer Andrew Synyshyn noted Podolsky struggles with mental health issues that are managed with medication, and has since been in touch with supports in the community for assistance.
Podolsky is usually someone who is quiet and keeps to himself, Synyshyn said, and suffers short-term memory loss after an accident he was involved in.
"I’m really sorry for what happened. I’m sorry for the mistakes that I’ve made," Podolsky told the court.
Judge John Combs sentenced Podolsky to 15 days of time served and one year of supervised probation.
"You have to know that this kind of thing can’t happen again," Combs said.
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