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Man jailed for shopbreaking, theft

Posted on May 2, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Delon Shurtz
Southern Alberta Newspapers

A southern Alberta man who broke into a downtown business and stole the owner’s retirement savings will spend some time behind bars.

Shortly after midnight on Jan. 16 of this year Lance Trapp, 36, was caught on video surveillance pulling up to the business in a truck then removing the metal security grille from the front of the business and smashing the window.

Once inside, Trapp forced open display cabinets and stole about $400 worth of merchandise. He also rummaged through clothes, boxes and a desk before discovering and taking a small safe containing $80,000.

Police issued pictures from surveillance video to other city police officers and the RCMP in surrounding areas, and an officer with the Coaldale RCMP recognized Trapp’s vehicle. Officers were initially unable to find Trapp until they came across his truck parked at a motel on Mayor Magrath Drive.

Trapp was found in one of the rooms and arrested, and he confessed that he broke into the business and hid the cash in a cooler in the motel room.

“Not all of the money was recovered, but most of it was,” Crown Prosecutor Bob Morrison told court. “There was $80,000 in cash and police were able to recover approximately $78,000. Mr. Trapp indicated that he spent about $2,000 of the money in a couple days between the break and enter and the time he’s arrested by the police.”

Trapp, who pleaded guilty in Lethbridge court of justice to one count of shopbreaking to commit theft, was sentenced to four months in jail.

He was also sentenced to another 12 months in jail on additional charges of shopbreaking with intent, possession of stolen property over $5,000, fraud under $5,000, unauthorized possession of a firearm, housebreaking with intent, and mischief.

On Nov. 8 of last year RCMP were dispatched to Kehoe Park Campground where they saw a truck on the property speed across a field and drive through a hole in a fence. A second officer arrived just in time to stop the vehicle as it fled through the breach.

Surveillance videos showed Trapp, who was wearing a balaclava and headlamp and was carrying a bag of tools, enter an unlocked fifth-wheel trailer and attempt to enter another trailer.

Trapp’s vehicle was searched, and although police did not find anything from the campground, they saw several cheques and a credit card belonging to other people. The credit card belonged to a cousin.

The previous month that relative had reported a break-in to her Coaldale residence while she was away on holiday, during which money, property and the credit card had been stolen. Fingerprints found in her residence led police Trapp who, the woman said, would have known she was away from her home.

Trapp was also busted in December for a break-in and an attempted break-in.

On Dec. 27 a woman called police to report a break-in to her business in Picture Butte. Some cheques were stolen and electronic copies of two cheques for $650 and $400 were deposited into Trapp’s account on Dec . 28 and both had been signed by Trapp.

Police searched Trapp’s residence on Jan. 4 for additional information relating to the stolen cheques, and they also found a .22 calibre rifle, even though Trapp’s firearm’s licence had previously been revoked.

On Dec. 29 the principal of Sunnyside School in the County of Lethbridge called police to report an attempted break-in sometime during the night. He told police someone had sprayed the security camera with black paint and tried to pry open the door to the school.

When Trapp was arrested on Jan. 4 on an unrelated matter, he was questioned about the attempted break-in and confessed.

Trapp, Morrison pointed out, did not have a criminal record before the recent string of offences. He indicated his crimes likely stem from his addiction to methamphetamine.

“It’s unfortunate but we see the effect that sort of drug can have on individuals, and Mr. Trapp, up until this point, wasn’t in any trouble.”

Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz said Trapp has taken every program available to him while he’s been in custody, and he’s arranging to have treatment after he is released.

“He’s hoping the next few months in custody he’s going to be able to completely sober up and get out and get back on his feet,” Shurtz said.

Although sentenced to a total of 16 months in jail, Trapp was given credit for time he had already spent in remand custody, leaving him with just under 11 months to serve.

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