Court house

The Penticton court house.

After committing a string of thefts in Penticton, a man broke into a drug rehabilitation centre in Keremeos while on a long walk to Vancouver, court heard Tuesday.

Rhandon Alexander Moore, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft under $5,000, one count of break and enter, failure to attend court and breach of probation. He was sentenced to time served since his arrest in mid-August.

Court heard Moore, who suffers from schizophrenia and is homeless, began his spree by stealing two extension cords from Safeway on March 15 for use in the homeless camp where he was living.

He also twice stole clothes and food from the Real Canadian Superstore between May and June.

And on June 5, court heard, police were called to Ashnola at The Crossing youth treatment facility at 6:51 a.m. to a report of a man, later identified as Moore, walking around on the property.

Video surveillance showed Moore the night before looking in windows and forcing a door open, later leaving the building with sheets, shoes and other items in his hands.

Court heard Moore slept in the greenhouse on the property, and the following morning re-entered the building with the intention of seeking help for his feet, which were apparently in bad shape after walking most of the way from Penticton.

“He did not seek to run away,” noted defence counsel James Pennington. “He walked into the dining hall, where they were setting up for breakfast, and of course he caused a bit of concern when he walked in. Following the treatment from staff, he turned around and left.”

An RCMP officer found Moore shortly after 7 a.m. walking along Highway 3 roughly 300 metres from the centre with shower sandals on his feet. His intention was to walk from Penticton to Vancouver.

Crown counsel Ann Lerchs suggested a jail term of seven months followed by 12 months’ probation, citing Moore’s lengthy criminal record and the severity of security concerns raised by him entering a youth treatment facility.

But when given the opportunity to speak, Moore begged Judge Richard Miller to reject the Crown’s proposal.

“Please uphold justice and do it right,” he said.

Miller indeed said he couldn’t accept Crown’s recommendation, noting the defence’s suggestion of time served would allow Moore to move into a room in the new Burdock House supportive housing complex on Winnipeg Street.

The judge also declined to impose probation on Moore.

“I don’t think probation ever serves in cases like this,” said Miller, adding it wouldn’t be “efficient.”