UPDATE: Thief who stole from volunteer Popkum firefighters found guilty

Lorne Sims to be sentenced in Chilliwack provincial court Jan. 22

Some measure of justice may finally be on the way for Popkum volunteer firefighters brazenly robbed while out on a call in 2016.

A man with a long criminal history was found guilty after a short trial in Chilliwack provincial court on Dec. 6 to one count of theft $5,000 or under, and one count posses/use a stolen credit card.

Lorne James Sims (Facebook)

Lorne James Sims is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 22 for stealing from the volunteer firefighters’ vehicles on Aug. 5, 2016.

[Ed note: An earlier version of this story said Sims pleaded guilty. He pleaded not guilty and was found guilty by a judge.]

• READ MORE: Popkum fire hall hit by thieves while on call

Sims contacted The Progress on Jan. 5 to complain about the Dec. 11 story that incorrectly said he pleaded guilty. Sims insisted the only reason he was found guilty was because of his prior record.

“Circumstantial evidence gave me the guilty verdict by a judge,” Sims wrote via email. “If this case was in front of a jury the results would be different I’m sure.”

The crime struck a chord in the community, prompting Timothy Christian students to host a fundraiser where they raised more than $9,000 to help replace stolen items.

• READ MORE: Firewash fundraiser a huge success for Popkum firefighters

Described at the time as a new low, even for thieves, the Popkum Fire Hall was actually struck twice.

On one call, volunteers responded to a 2 a.m. page for a crash on the highway involving two trucks. They raced to the hall, suited up, jumped in their trucks, and headed to the rescue.

Meanwhile, back at the hall, someone took the opportunity to loot their vehicles and take off with wallets, cell phones, work tools and other personal belongings. They also stole pagers and radios belonging to the firehall.

“Seven of our personal vehicles were broken into,” said firehall secretary Jan Bosman in 2016.

And then, while the crew was out on an all-day call a few days later that closed the highway for hours, thieves struck again.

In the wake of the thefts, the department considered leaving one firefighter at the hall to watch over belongings.

“Which is ridiculous,” Bosman says. “That we might lose resources like this. But if we have a call and it’s in the middle of night we are forced to leave one of the members to watch over the hall.”

Sims is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 22.

– with files from Jessica Peters

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs lose Kevin Wall to suspension

The team’s leading scorer was tagged with his second major of the season Sunday and sits four games.

Man charged with attempted murder in Chilliwack River Valley deemed mentally unfit

Father says son has schizophrenia; Law professor say too many with mental illness in jail

Four chances to see Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah in the Valley

Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra brings Handels’ Messiah to Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Aldergrove

United churches come together to share warmth in Chilliwack

Members of Rosedale, Chilliwack and Mt. Shannon united churches donate 100 care packages to homeless

Lots of laughs at Bozzini’s holiday concert in Chilliwack

Double bill performance features rock n’ roll duo Kitty & the Rooster, cabaret musician Shirley Gnome

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Vancouver Whitecaps lose Kei Kamara, protect 11 players from expansion draft

The club added two goalies, a winger and a midfielder during Major League Soccer’s half-day trade window

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

B.C. man linked to human remains probe to stand trial on unrelated assault case

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Most Read