A man who went on a crime spree that included stealing a pickup truck in Chilliwack and robbing two stores within a few minutes in Maple Ridge and Langley was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail on Friday.
Ryan Korte expressed remorse for his acts, which were described as “crimes of desperation to sustain a drug addiction.”
The main subject of contention between Crown and defence was whether or not the scissors Korte held during both robberies were used in a threatening matter. Crown said they were, an aggravating factor that led to asking for 4.5-year sentence. Defence said the scissors were at this side or in his pocket and neither clerk was threatened with harm.
Korte’s robbery of a 7-Eleven in Langley in summer 2016 followed by the robbery of a Shell in Maple Ridge seven minutes later were both caught on surveillance cameras.
In both videos shown in court, the clerks were seen being ordered to the ground while Korte stole cash from the register and filled garbage bags with cigarettes.
Part of a victim impact statement from the clerk at the Langley 7-Eleven in Langley was read in court in which the young man expressed how the incident has affected his life leaving him with constant fear.
“I think this speaks to the fact that he was very fearful at the time, and he had ramifications flowing from that, no doubt trauma to him,” Crown counsel Eleasha Sabourin said during his previous sentencing hearing.
Sabourin had asked for 4.5 years in jail for the robberies because of the serious impact the robberies had on the clerks of the two stores, and because of the “step-up” principle that says subsequent sentences for similar crimes should increase in moderate steps.
In addition to a robbery conviction from 2012 where he was sentenced to four years in jail, Korte has an extensive criminal record as an adult, and a significant youth record. Sabourin told the court that he has convictions for 10 break-and-enters, 15 theft under $5,000 charges, nine theft over $5,000, and six other types of property crimes.
He has spent the better part of the last two decades in custody, something that was addressed by Judge Young in her sentencing decision. She relayed comments made by counsel that Korte actually is somewhat afraid about leaving custody since he feels more at home in jail than out.
“He has always felt accepted in custody,” Young said. “He has, perhaps, become institutionalized.”
Before sentencing, Korte addressed the court to say that he has been working at a job seven days a week in the prison in part to get credit for good behaviour.
“It kind of helped me learn about having a job and working, which I’ve never done in the past,” he said.
Young agreed with defence that the videos from the robberies did not show Korte using the scissors in a threatening manner. She sentenced him to four years each for the robberies to run concurrently, as well as eight months for the vehicle theft.
Korte has been in custody for 935 days. At credit of 1.5-to-one, that amounts to 1,403 days or 46.75 months months meaning he has very little time left to serve.
He does, however, have a criminal matter to deal with in Alberta once he is released from custody in B.C.