Teen gets lec­ture on scourge of ru­ral crime

Twobears Bird will face one more year of jail for a string of break-and-en­ters, auto thefts and high-speed chases

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - ARTHUR WHITE-CRUMMEY

On Tues­day, a clerk at Prince Al­bert’s pro­vin­cial court­house printed out a list of charges Twobears Bird was fac­ing that morn­ing.

It ran seven full pages long. As part of a deal with the Crown, 19-year-old Bird pleaded guilty to a string of ru­ral prop­erty crimes and high-speed chases this spring. Judge S. Schiefner sen­tenced him to six months time served, as well as an ad­di­tional year in jail.

Crown prose­cu­tor Cyn­thia Alexan­der guided Schiefner through Bird’s sea­son of crime, which was cen­tred in the RM of Buck­land and the Stur­geon Lake First Na­tion. In April, the RCMP linked him with a se­ries of break-and-en­ters and the theft of a Chevy truck and a Wild­cat ATV.

The truck and the ATV were even­tu­ally re­cov­ered, but Bird ended up with war­rants for his ar­rest. On May 13, an RCMP con­sta­ble spot­ted him get­ting into a ve­hi­cle by the Stur­geon Lake store. When he con­firmed that it was Bird, he opened up the driver’s side door to place him un­der ar­rest.

“The ac­cused, at that point, puts the ve­hi­cle in drive and drives away,” Alexan­der ex­plained. “Cst. Link is par­tially inside the ve­hi­cle when the ve­hi­cle starts to take off, so Cst. Link spins away from the ve­hi­cle to avoid in­jury.”

An­other RCMP of­fi­cer tailed Bird as he fled at high speed to­ward a field. The ve­hi­cle was iden­ti­fied as stolen.

Po­lice found Bird again on May 15, in a grey Chevy truck re­ported stolen from Meadow Lake. That morn­ing, Stur­geon Lake RCMP got a re­port that Bird was driv­ing im­paired and “stunting.”

Alexan­der said that the of­fi­cers were con­cerned about their safety, and called for backup from Prince Al­bert po­lice. A con­sta­ble then spot­ted Bird, who ig­nored her lights and sirens and drove away.

Po­lice fol­lowed Bird over a high­way and then down ru­ral grid roads as he drove the truck “care­lessly” and “quite hard.” Alexan­der said he be­gan driv­ing over “un­charted ter­rain,” bounc­ing the truck off rocks and crash­ing through farm gates.

Bird was fi­nally ar­rested. A breath sam­ple showed that he was driv­ing at about twice the le­gal limit. He also lacked an ap­pro­pri­ate li­cence.

Alexan­der had agreed on a joint sen­tenc­ing sub­mis­sion with Bird’s lawyer, Dale Blen­ner-Has­sett. They asked Judge Schiefner to im­pose one year over and above the time Bird has al­ready spent in cus­tody, plus nine months pro­ba­tion.

Schiefner then called on the ac­cused to speak for him­self.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” Bird said. “I have learned my les­son.”

The judge ac­cepted that as re­morse. He said that he was ini­tially con­sid­er­ing a harsher sen­tence, but chose to de­fer to the joint rec­om­men­da­tion. He noted that ru­ral prop­erty crimes are “ram­pant” around Prince Al­bert, and lec­tured Bird on the cli­mate of fear he’s help­ing sus­tain.

“There are a num­ber of ru­ral farm own­ers, peo­ple who live in the coun­try, who are fear­ful for their safety and se­cu­rity,” he said. “Think of all the peo­ple you af­fected.

“Know that you are an adult,” he added. “The con­se­quences, the pun­ish­ment, for this kind of be­hav­iour are very se­vere.”

As part of Bird’s pro­ba­tion, he will be re­quired to re­pay hun­dreds for some of the prop­erty he dam­aged. He will also face a one year driv­ing pro­hi­bi­tion.

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