26-month jail term for crime spree

The Welland Tribune - - Front Page - ALI­SON LAN­G­LEY

A 25-year-old man wanted by sev­eral po­lice agen­cies in con­nec­tion with a month-long crime spree across south­ern On­tario in 2017 has been sen­tenced to 26 months in jail.

In On­tario Court of Jus­tice in St. Catharines on Wed­nes­day, Kevin Sta­ple­ford-Fran­calanza was con­victed of 29 charges, in­clud­ing dan­ger­ous driv­ing, car theft and shoplift­ing.

Judge Fer­gus O’Don­nell gave the de­fen­dant credit for the time he had spent in pre­trial cus­tody and the sen­tence was re­duced to an­other 12½ months be­hind bars.

As­sis­tant Crown at­tor­ney Todd Mor­ris had asked the judge to con­sider a jail term of three years.

He said the ex­tended crime spree was “fu­elled by ad­dic­tion.”

Court heard Sta­ple­ford-Fran­calanza, a first-time of­fender, was bat­tling a $300 a day ad­dic­tion to both heroin and fen­tanyl at the time of the in­ci­dents.

“… prob­a­bly the tough­est ad­dic­tions to kick,” Mor­ris said.

The crime spree ran from Au­gust through Septem­ber 2017, with of­fences tak­ing place across Ni­a­gara as well as in Kitch­ener, Guelph, Oakville, Nor­folk County and Burling­ton.

Many of the crimes were shoplift­ing of­fences. Court heard the de­fen­dant would en­ter stores and se­lect mer­chan­dise such as tele­vi­sions and sim­ply walk out of the busi­ness with­out pay­ing.

He would also take ve­hi­cles for test drives and not re­turn them.

In mid-Septem­ber, sev­eral Ni­a­gara Re­gional Po­lice cruis­ers sur­rounded Sta­ple­ford-Fran­calanza as he con­sumed drugs in a car parked at a Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake gro­cery store.

Court heard the de­fen­dant

rammed the po­lice cruis­ers un­til a gap formed, en­abling him to drive away. No in­juries were re­ported but dam­age was pegged at more than $15,000.

Sta­ple­ford-Fran­calanza was ar­rested at a shop­ping mall in Vaughan on Sept. 29 fol­low­ing an al­ter­ca­tion with a po­lice of­fi­cer. The of­fi­cer suf­fered mi­nor in­juries in the in­ci­dent.

De­fence lawyer V.J. Singh told the judge his client, de­spite his ad­dic­tions, has man­aged to stay clean while in cus­tody at Ni­a­gara De­ten­tion Cen­tre.

On­tario’s po­lice watch­dog agency was called in to in­ves­ti­gate fol­low­ing Sta­ple­ford-Fran­calanza’s ar­rest as he had sus­tained in­juries dur­ing his ar­rest.

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tions Unit con­tin­ues to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter.

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