Man sentenced to three years for holdups

A distinctive set of tire tracks on the getaway car were part of the undoing for a Prince George man sentenced Thursday to three years in jail for a pair of holdups.

Less credit for time served prior to sentencing, Jake Travis Wilson, 27, will serve a further 17 months in custody, to be followed by two years probation.

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The term came in the form of a joint submission from Crown and defence counsels after Wilson pleaded guilty to two counts each of robbery and used of an imitation firearm for a Jan. 17 holdup of a gas station and a Jan. 23 holdup of a pizza take-out store, both robberies occurring around midnight on those respective days.

Wilson and a co-accused made off with $250 cash, several scratch and win cards and about 20 packages of cigarettes from the gas station, and $300 to $400 from the pizza outlet.

When RCMP attended the second incident, they noticed something odd about the tire tracks left in the snow by the vehicle used to make the getaway - one of them had a different tread than the other three. They also determined the vehicle was a car with front-wheel drive.

A week later, RCMP were called to a complaint that a 700-block Ahbau Street home could be housing a methampthetamine lab - an odour of nail polish coming from the home was reported.

Upon arrival, RCMP came across a car matching the description parked in the driveway with Wilson, co-accused Jesse Luke Juillette, the car's owner and driver and one other person inside the vehicle.

Wilson, Juillette and the owner were arrested and taken into custody. Police pressed the owner about the tire tracks and about whether DNA on a cigarette butt also found at the scene of the second robbery would be a match.

At that point, she admitted to being behind the wheel that night but claimed she did not know the two had committed the robbery. No charges were pursued against her.

About midway through his interview with police, Wilson also admitted to participating in not only the holdup of the pizza outlet but the gas station. Juillette, meanwhile, continues to face charges from the pizza store robbery and a trial is set to begin in late-April.

Wilson told police he was high on methamphetamine on both occasions and had committed the crimes to feed a $100 to $150 per day drug habit.

In the robbery of the gas station, Wilson and an accomplice convinced another man, who was drunk and high on drugs at the time, to coax the attendant to open a side door. Their faces masked, the two burst in behind him, one holding what appeared to be a handgun, and demanded cash.

The attendant's cellphone was smashed to prevent him from quickly calling RCMP. The man who had helped them, meanwhile, remained at the scene, lying on the floor until police arrived.

A week later, two masked men burst into the pizza outlet, both with what appeared to be handguns. There were two employees in the store and, in the process, one said he was punched in the face, leaving him dazed and with a cut over his eye - although he may also have been hit with a pistol - while the other was kicked in the head as he laid on the floor.

One continues to have breathing problems linked to the injuries he suffered and the other suffered a split lip that required stitches and had problems eating and breathing in the aftermath. Both have since quit their jobs at the store.

Provincial court judge Susan Mengering accepted the joint submission with reluctance, saying the sentence is on the low end of the scale given the violence. But she also noted that Wilson has no previous criminal record and has expressed remorse.

Wilson was also issued a lifetime firearms prohibition and ordered to provide a DNA sample. He must also take counselling for drug and alcohol addiction if directed by his parole officer.

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