Crown counsel Tyler Bauman is asking for a two-year prison term for Dillon Benjamin Ertmoed, who plead guilty to two counts related to a Sept. 19 mid-day smash and grab at the Michael Hill jewelry store in Pine Centre Mall.
That's a year less than the three-year sentence for the same crime that Bauman's accomplice, Raymond Jarrod Constant Pruden-Collins, was handed last November.
According the facts read into court Tuesday during Ertmoed's sentencing arguments, the pair targeted the store because it's located close to an exit. Both men wore masks to cover their faces when they entered the mall and went into the jewelry store with a hammer and a can of bear spray.
Ertmoed, 21, used the hammer to smash display cases and grab jewelry, while Pruden-Collins did the same with the bear spray. They fled the store with a combined $89,000 worth of jewelry, but were both apprehended before leaving the mall. All the stolen merchandise was recovered.
Ertmoed was caught by security with the help of a bystander in a wheelchair who used his chair to block an exit near the former Zellers store.
The men had been planning an early morning robbery, but slept in. Police received a call about the robbery in progress at 11:31 a.m.
Bauman asked provincial court judge Dan Weatherly to sentence Ertmoed to two years in prison with two to three years of probation. Defence lawyer Rob Climie asked for a conditional sentence of 12 to 18 months.
Bauman had also asked for a two-year sentence for Pruden-Collins in November in a joint submission with the defence however provincial court judge Michael Brecknell deemed that was insufficient and due the brazen nature of the robbery and the need for a deterrence factor in the community.
In addition to the jewelry store robbery, Pruden-Collins also plead guilty to a pair of armed robberies at Subway restaurants in September with a different accomplice. He was handed five-year sentences for those offences, but all of his time will be served concurrently. Ertmoed was not involved in the Subway robberies.
Among the aggravating factors Bauman presented Tuesday were a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that jewelry store robberies require special deterrence and that although no employees or bystanders were injured he said it could still qualify as a serious personal injury offence because the robbery was "scary, I would submit terrifying for the employees of that establishment."
According to Bauman, Ertmoed said he was high on methamphetamines at the time of the robbery and committed the crime to get money to buy more drugs. Climie said his client started using illegal drugs as a 13-year-old, escalating from marijuana to crack cocaine to crystal meth. He dropped out of school at 16, which Climie said limited his client's job prospects.
Among the mitigating factors Climie cited was the fact that no violence was used or threatened, that Ertmoed doesn't have a criminal record and that he comes from a stable family environment. His parents have agreed to let him live with them once he's released from custody, on the condition he refrain from drugs and alcohol and either attend school or find work.
Climie called the robbery "a relatively unsophisticated offence" and argued that Ertmoed was a follower and Pruden-Collins was the ringleader. He also said his client has exhibited remorse and is a strong candidate for rehabilitation.
During a very brief statement to the court, Ertmoed apologized for the robbery.
Weatherly said he needed time to review the cases both lawyers used to substantiate their sentencing submissions before issuing a ruling.