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Man sentenced on 26 charges of fraud, breaking and entering apartment

Saskatoon provincial court
Greg Pender / Saskatoon StarPhoenix

A man who broke into mailboxes in seven different Saskatoon apartment buildings and made 34 transactions with stolen credit cards has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Between Dec. 11, 2016 and Jan. 22, 2017, Christopher Bear went on a “spree” of breaking into apartment mailboxes and fraudulently using credit cards at gas stations, convenience stores and banks around Saskatoon. He pleaded guilty last week to 19 counts of fraud and seven break and enters. 

Court heard that on Dec. 16, 2016, Bear made 19 transactions valuing $2,200 using a credit card that had gone missing from an apartment building mailbox. He used a different stolen credit card to defraud Co-op of $2,260 between Dec. 20 and 23. 

Four different fraudulent transactions were made at a gas station between Dec. 21 and Jan. 22 and between Jan 10 and 21, another stolen credit card was used four more times, totalling $1,363.

Many of the defrauded businesses had video surveillance, which helped identify Bear as a suspect, Crown prosecutor Dan Dahl said during Bear’s sentencing in Saskatoon provincial court. He said the credit card companies ended up paying, but did not seek any restitution. 

The break and enters occurred at apartment buildings on Saskatchewan Crescent, Prairie Avenue, 33rd Street West, Willis Crescent, Reid Road and Wedge Road between Dec 11, 2016 and Jan 14, 2017. In all cases, Bear gained access to the building by either buzzing a tenant or sneaking through an open door. He would then break into mailboxes, looking for credit cards or money.

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However, Dahl said it was difficult for police to determine what was stolen because the complainants didn’t know what mail they were missing. Police did not find any documents on Bear when they arrested him, court heard. 

Dahl said the jointly-submitted sentence of 18 months is on the lower end of the range — considering the number of offences — because Bear’s guilty pleas spared the Crown from having to call many witnesses at a trial that would have taken several days. 

“I regret it, a lot,” Bear told court. “I’m not there for my kids and that’s kind of what put me here, is not having who I needed.”

Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said Bear had drug debts to pay off after getting involved with gangs and using crystal meth when he came to Saskatoon in 2010. He’s since connected with STR8 Up, an organization that helps people drop their gang affiliations, and Teen Challenge, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for men. 

bmcadam@postmedia.com

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