Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Man gets 7 years for sophisticated robberies

A "professional criminal" has been sentenced to seven years in prison for a series of highly sophisticated break-ins to various Winnipeg businesses.
Cary Preston, 34, pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $30,000 in cash and property over a five-year period by smashing, drilling and tunnelling his way into various stores, restaurants and safes.

"These are cold, callous and calculated crimes, where greed is the motivating factor. They are the hallmarks of a professional criminal," said Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft.
Solid police work is being credited for Preston’s arrest. Investigators first suspected him in early 2007 after an attempted break-in to the Cathay House restaurant, court was told. Police believed he may be responsible for other unsolved crimes - and perhaps planning future ones - so they obtained a warrant to install a tracking device on his vehicle.
Police were able to quickly link Preston to an incident at the Riverside Inn, where he burrowed his way through the walls and cut a hole in a safe. He was arrested hours later, but released on bail. Police were still monitoring his movements when he went to a Tim Hortons on Christmas Day - knowing it was closed - and used a crowbar to force his way inside. He was re-arrested the following day and has remained in custody since.
Police then got a DNA sample from Preston, which proved to be a match with five other similar incidents dating back to 2002. In several of those cases, Preston cut himself on broken glass and left behind droplets of blood, court was told.
Preston would plan his crimes in advance, and often used tape to cover up motion sensors inside the businesses he targeted when he knew they would be closed and empty. He would also move surveillance cameras and wear disguises to prevent identification. He caused extensive property damage as a result of his criminal methods.
Preston has a lengthy history of property crimes which includes convictions in Alberta and Saskatchewan. He was given double-time credit Monday for nearly 29 months of time already spent in custody, meaning he only has about 27 months of time left on his sentence.

DNA used to convict sophisticated thief of 8 break-ins
For five years Cary Preston evaded police capture in a series of sophisticated commercial break and enters.
Preston’s luck finally ran out, thanks to determined police and his unmistakable DNA, a court heard Monday.
“But for the dogged work of Winnipeg police it’s unlikely any of these break and enters would have been solved,” Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft said.
Preston, 34, pleaded guilty to eight commercial break and enters dating back to 2002 and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Police arrested him in November 2007 after he and another man broke into the Riverside Inn and stole $13,000 in cash. Court heard the men cut holes in the walls, allowing them to move freely within the building without triggering the security alarm, and disabled a motion sensor.
Police had been following Preston after identifying him as a suspect in an attempted break and enter two weeks earlier. Police obtained a tracking warrant and affixed a GPS tracking device to his truck.
Released on bail, Preston broke into a Portage Avenue Tim Hortons restaurant on Christmas Day, the one day of the year it was closed. Again, Preston disabled the restaurant’s security system and stole $3,700 in cash. The tracking device was still attached to Preston’s truck when police pulled him over south of the city the following day and arrested him.
While in custody, police matched Preston’s DNA to six unsolved commercial break and enters. In three of the break and enters, Preston cut himself on a saw or other break-in tool, leaving drops of blood behind.
Preston is a “professional career criminal” and should expect to receive maximum and consecutive sentences should he ever appear before court again, said Justice Albert Clearwater.
Preston received double credit for time served, reducing his remaining sentence to 27 months.

This article focuses too much on this man's criminal activities and fails to even mention any possible mitigating factors or defence lawyer statements. Yes, these crimes were planned and pre-meditated and this man does pose a danger to society, but I believe there are likely some mitigating factors in this case which are not being reported on. I feel that 7 years is too harsh. If mitigating factors were present, I feel around 3-4 years would be more appropriate. Non-violent property offenders should not be imprisoned in most cases, and if they are, not for lengthy periods. This man poses more of a danger than most property offenders because of the fact that while released on bail, he committed another break in. This calls for more serious consequences.

The US puts WAY too many people in prison, modeling anything off their failed system is NOT the way to go. There must be other alternatives that can be explored.

A 'Professional criminal' would not be that careless, get cut by glass and leave traces of blood. Sophisticated break-ins does not involve the use of a crow bar, nor puting tape over motion sensors. Finally, professionals would not get caught by the WPS.

Nothing in this story sounds sophisticated or professional. He went through our catch and release system and hasn't exactly been evasive. Used a crowbar and left DNA everywhere. A real pro.  

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