A pair of would-be thieves in Marystown might have better luck trick-or-treating than pulling off the next great heist.
It was either the lucrative possibilities that lay inside the Mary Brown’s franchise in Marystown or perhaps just the lingering smell of that delicious chicken that brought Shawn Sheppard and his accused partner in crime, Scott Thorne, to the business earlier this summer.
In provincial court in Grand Bank last week, a decision was made in Sheppard’s case after he was charged with break, enter and theft while having his face masked in June of this year.
Judge H.J. Porter sentenced Sheppard to 12 months minus 1 1/2 days’ credit for each day spent in custody prior to his sentencing, for a total 254 days left, followed by 12 months’ probation.
Sheppard was also ordered to provide DNA samples immediately and pay $400 in victim surcharges within 30 days.
In court documents obtained by The Telegram, Curtis King said he was filling up his vehicle at the nearby gas station around 1:30 a.m. on June 15 when he heard a loud bang coming from the Mary Brown’s. When he drove by to investigate, he could see somebody had broken in by smashing the glass door.
King called the police, and it took them just minutes to arrive. A piece of lumber was on the front step, and the glass of the front door had been smashed. When police went into the restaurant they found Thorne with a pillow case on his head trying to get out through the fire exit.
They also heard noise coming from the electrical room. In there they found Sheppard crouched down, attempting to hide from the police. He wore a pillow case over his head.
Sheppard pleaded guilty to the charges, but the Crown and defence were more than a Big Mary’s width apart on agreeing on a sentence.
This was not Sheppard’s first offence. His priors read like a drive-thru crime order. He had four prior convictions for break and enter, five for failing to appear in court, two for possession of stolen goods, two for theft, two for assault, seven for breach of undertaking and one each for impaired driving, fraud, mischief, uttering threats and forgery.
The Mary Brown’s affair was the fifth break-and-enter charge, but was the first time he was charged with parading around in a pillow case.
The Crown described the offence in the court documents as “serious (and) premeditated” and Sheppard as being “a very high risk to re-offend.”
The Crown asked for a sentence of two years, followed by probation for 18 months, but said two years ought to be reduced by the amount of time Sheppard had already spent in custody.
The defence described the crime as “farcical” and argued the matter ought to be treated as such. Sheppard’s counsel suggested that a total sentence of between nine months to a year, minus credit for time served in custody, would be more reasonable.
Porter, who heard the case, seemed to think the incident “farcical” only because of the behaviour of the accused and the outcome of their efforts.
“Certainly, the two accused, blundering about in the restaurant while wearing pillow cases on their heads, must have been quite a sight,” Porter said in the court documents.
“However, regardless of their ineptitude, the accused and his partner in crime did cause serious harm to the restaurant owners, employees, and children of the restaurant owners.
“As indicated earlier, the harm is not simply measured in monetary terms for repairing the broken doors and furniture. Instead, it encompasses the feelings of loss of privacy, the sense of invasion and the fear of future similar invasion and loss of privacy.”