A man who used a pair of scissors to rob a clerk at a Shell gas station in Maple Ridge just seven minutes after he did the same thing at a 7-Eleven in Langley will be sentenced to at least four years in jail in Chilliwack provincial court in May.
Those two robberies by Ryan Korte were part of a crime spree back in 2016 that included the theft of a vehicle in Chilliwack and a robbery in Abbotsford. He pleaded guilty to several of the charges.
At a sentencing hearing on April 10, Crown counsel Eleasha Sabourin asked the court for a sentence of 4.5 years pointing, in part, to the serious impact the robberies had on the clerks and the so-called “step-up” principle that says subsequent sentences for similar crimes should increase in moderate steps.
Korte was sentenced to four years in Kamloops in 2012 for robbery and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
During the sentencing hearing, the court was shown security footage of both robberies. In the first, a young man is seen behind the counter at the 7/11 when Korte comes behind and forces him to open the cash register. Korte is seen filling a garbage can with packs of cigarettes as the clerk sits on the floor behind the counter.
Sabourin paraphrased part of a victim impact statement saying the man said the robbery had a “significant impact on him.” In the video, the young man is seen crouched behind the counter something he apparently did long after Korte left.
“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,” Sabourin said.
In the second video from the Shell, Korte similarly comes behind the counter, orders the woman to the ground where she stayed crouching as he stole from the register and filled a garbage bag and garbage can with cigarettes.
In addition to his robbery conviction from 2012, 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.
“The truth is, the very sad truth is, Mr. Korte has spent the majority of his adult life, and frankly, teenage life in custody,” Sabourin said. “My understanding [is that he has spent] 15 out of the past 20 years in custody.”
Because Korte has already been in custody for more than 2.5 years since he was arrested in Merritt in September 2016 after trying to sell stolen property to a relative of the Chilliwack vehicle theft, his lawyer is asking for a sentence of, essentially, time served.
By the date of the judge’s decision on May 2017, he will have spent 935 days in custody. At credit of 1.5-to-one, that amounts to 1,403 days or 46.75 months, nearly four years. Korte’s lawyer Conor Muldoon asked the court for a global sentence of 40 months for the robbery and eight more months for his other convictions, which include six breaches.
Muldoon told the court that Korte’s robberies are related to his cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. He said they were crimes of opportunity rather than planned events.
Judge Young is scheduled to hand down sentence on May 17.