It wasn’t exactly the kind of way either wanted to start the new year — one man having his car stolen from his driveway and another ending up in jail after he was spotted driving it.
The man spotted behind the wheel — 22-year-old Michael Legge of St. John’s — was arrested after he showed up at RNC headquarters driving the car.
“Someone apparently tipped police off that he was on his way there with a stolen car to sign in (as part of his conditions for previous charges),” said the car owner, who didn’t want to be identified.
It all happened on Friday morning, New Year’s Day.
The man awoke at 9:30 a.m., looked out the window of his Kitchener Avenue home, as he does every morning, and noticed his Mazda 3 wasn’t in the driveway.
“I thought (one of our sons) had gone somewhere in it, but when I checked, they were still in bed,” he said.
He then saw the footprints in the snow around his two vehicles (he also owns a pickup truck) and immediately called police.
When officers showed up at 10:15 a.m., he said, they told him they had located his car.
The man was relieved, but was curious to know what happened.
He said police told him that Legge — who has outstanding charges of assault and court breaches from November — had shown up at RNC headquarters at 10 a.m. to sign in as part of his release conditions for the previous charges. He was reportedly driving the stolen car.
Having been tipped off by an anonymous caller that Legge would be there with the car, officers waited until Legge was leaving and behind the wheel before approaching him, the man said.
But Legge reportedly sped off.
Police followed him to the downtown area, where Legge allegedly drove the car into a snowbank. He got out and was taken into custody.
Legge appeared in provincial court Monday morning and was charged with possessing stolen property (a vehicle) valued over $5,000, dangerous driving and evading police. He is also charged with four counts of breaching court orders — three probation and one recognizance.
He also has outstanding charges from Nov. 11 of allegedly assaulting two women, along with other counts of breaching probation.
The Crown was opposed to releasing Legge and he was returned to jail. He is due to appear next in court via videolink from Her Majesty’s Penitentiary on Jan. 18.
The car owner was in the courtroom to hear his case.
“I just wanted to see what he looked like and if I knew him from the neighbourhood,” he told The Telegram outside court. “I did recognize him. I’ve seen him around.”
He said he hopes Legge will be convicted and learn his lesson, but he admits he’s learned one of his own — never leave anything valuable in an unlocked vehicle, especially keys.
Having switched his cars’ positions in the driveway on New Year’s Eve, the man had left the Mazda’s keys in his unlocked pickup truck, which had been rummaged through that night.
Since he was on his way to run errands, instead of bringing the car keys inside the house or putting them in his pocket, the man threw them in the side pocket of the pickup’s driver’s side door.
“When I came home, it completely slipped my mind that I had left them there,” he said.
With so many car break-ins in the area these past few months, the man said he should have known better.
“I was stupid and got sidetracked. I should’ve been more careful.
“I know I’ll never do that again.”