Undercover police officers and Innisfail RCMP recover $65,000 in musical instruments stolen from Red Deer County and charge two men. (RCMP photo)

Judge scolds Halkirk man before sentencing him t0 9 months in prison

Undercover police and Innisfail RCMP arrested man for possessing $65,000 worth of stolen instruments

Judge W.A. Skinner scolded a Halkirk man in Stettler provincial circuit court for helping his cousin try to sell $65,000 worth of musical instruments in Edmonton that were stolen from a Red Deer business.

“$65,000 goes missing, that puts a lot of businesses under,” said Judge Skinner in Stettler court Jan. 24. “People are trying to scratch out a living here and people like you come along. You were involved in fencing this property and that is just as bad.”

Justin James Schilling, 26, was sentenced to nine months in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of $65,000 in stolen musical instruments, shop breaking with intent and a few more older charges.

Crown prosecutor Bruce Ritter said Schilling, and his co-accused Brandon Wegner, were arrested Jan. 17 and charged with the Jan. 15 break and enter of a music studio building in Red Deer County.

The pair was arrested after an Edmonton retailer refused to buy the instruments from Wegner on Jan. 16. The retailer took photos of the instruments and contacted police.

Undercover officers called Wegner, who was going by the name of ‘Cosmo Kramer’ and arranged a meeting in Red Deer to buy the instruments.

The undercover officers met Wegner and Schilling at Tim Hortons on Jan. 17. Innisfail RCMP arrived on scene to assist and they were arrested. Schilling was the driver of the truck and Wegner was the passenger.

Police had a search warrant and seized the vehicle and recovered the instruments. Police recovered: Roland Phantom Keyboard, Roland 08 Keyboard, Saxophone, Soundboard, Hurcules boom stands, cordless mics and control boxes, compact sound system and speakers and amps.

Ritter said Wegner gave a statement after he was arrested and the two co-accused were “pointing the finger at each other.”

Ritter said in Schilling’s statement he said Wegner, his cousin, asked him to use his truck to help him move the instruments. He said Schilling claimed that when he helped Wegner load the instruments, he wondered why he had so many but didn’t question Wegner.

Defence Mark Daoust told the court that Schilling suffers from addiction, depression and anxiety related issues.

“He recognizes that he screwed up and he is here to plead guilty.”

Schilling, who appeared in Stettler court via CCTV from Red Deer Remand Centre, apologized to the court.

“I’m sorry. Now that I’m back on my pills I realize I did a stupid thing.”

READ MORE: Couple arrested in Halkirk area drug bust appear in Stettler court

Schilling also faced breach of probation charges stemming from 2014 and 2018.

Ritter said Schilling was placed on 12 months probation in 2014 for possession of stolen property and failed to report to his probation officer and attend court ordered programs. He was also ordered not to leave Halkirk except for employment purposes.

Schilling was released again on his own recognizance in December 2017 but failed to report to probation in January 2018 and failed to appear in court February 2018.

Before sentencing Schilling, Judge Skinner said, “If you really want to help yourself you won’t avoid reporting to probation and if you’re serious about getting over your mental health and addiction problems you are going to get a hold of agencies. You won’t be able to do this on your own. You haven’t been able to do this on your own in the past.

“I hope you take advantage of the agencies out there,” added Judge Skinner. “You are a young man and this is not a good way to spend your life. I hope you can turn it around.”

Crown and defence entered a joint submission on sentencing.

Judge Skinner sentenced Schilling to 40 days for three counts of breach of probation, 40 days concurrent for failing to comply with conditions, 19 days concurrent for failing to attend court, 30 days consecutive for failing to comply with conditions, 10 days consecutive for failing to appear in court, and 180 days consecutive for possession of stolen property.

After Schilling is released from prison he will be on 18 months probation.

His co-accused, Brandon Wegner, 28, is scheduled to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Feb. 6 to enter a plea.



lisa.joy@stettlerindependent.com

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