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Bazin believes jail best for brothers

A petty thief who regularly targeted charitable donation boxes was sentenced to a year in jail in order to give the Estevan community a break from his wrongdoing.

A petty thief who regularly targeted charitable donation boxes was sentenced to a year in jail in order to give the Estevan community a break from his wrongdoing.

The 47-year-old Anthony Britt appeared in Estevan provincial court in shackles as he has been on remand since the end of August. He had previously pleaded guilty to some charges and had yet to be sentenced, and on Monday he entered more guilty pleas and his matter continued to sentencing with a joint submission presented to the judge by the Crown prosecutor and his Legal Aid lawyer.

On Sept. 30, 2012, Britt dipped his hands into a donation box, making off with just $45. On Nov. 4, he stole from a Remembrance Day poppy box, collecting about $100. A further incident on Dec. 7 saw him steal from a Tim Hortons donation box, taking the $130 that made up its contents.

He stole other small items from local businesses, like boots and ink cartridges, which came in with values of about $50 and $173, respectively.

On Aug. 28, he stole a welder, valued at $300 from a local business and took the contents of a charity box at the McDonald's restaurant in Estevan, which contained roughly $300.

Finally, on Aug. 30, he and his brother Mark Britt attended a local grocery store. Mark placed cardboard boxes at different points in the store and Anthony filled them with meat products. They then left the store without paying for any of the food.

Mark has also been charged for theft as a result of the incident.

In speaking to Anthony's matter, Crown prosecutor Maura Landry said, "Ultimately, what we have here is someone who steals minor amounts of things, generally from charities. The long and the short is essentially, he has quite a record. Everything he is doing is little, minute things that on their own are just an annoyance."

She said a sentencing range for chronic shoplifters is between three and four months of jail.

"The problem with Mr. Britt is that he has accumulated so many at this point 12 months in custody is appropriate," said Landry.

With Britt's time on remand, he will serve another nine months in jail.

"He's not stealing a lot that's worth much. He's just creating a nuisance for the community, and the community deserves a break from him for awhile," she added.

Presiding Judge Karl Bazin agreed and accepted the one-year jail term.

Following his stint in jail, Britt will be subject to a 12-month probation order.

Britt committed the thefts in order to feed a drug habit. A pre-sentence report outlined Britt's drug habit as he commented that he consumed crack-cocaine every day for about a year.

Bazin suggested to Britt that if he needs money, he should get a job in Estevan's booming economy.

"I don't have a dog, but if I had one, he could get a job in Estevan," Bazin told Britt. "Anybody can get a job here. It's your life. Even a minimum wage would be a better way to drive your drug addiction."

Mark also appeared in custody on Monday and pleaded guilty to charges of theft and possessing the proceeds of theft.

It was noted that by committing these crimes he breached a previous conditional sentence order, which had another five months before expiring. The Crown requested the CSO be terminated and Mark serve the rest of the time in jail. Bazin agreed with those sentiments.

He was sentenced to time served for the new charges but will still serve out the remainder of his conditional sentence order in jail.