(THUNDER BAY, ON) – A woman was charged with breaking into a home of an elderly man and attempting to steal numerous items from the homeowner who has significant medical issues. Below is the police media release regarding this incident followed by our reporting on her court appearance.
“Thunder Bay Police Service officers were dispatched to a residence in the zero-to-100 block of Machar Avenue following reports of a break and enter to a home in progress around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18.
Police learned the homeowner, who has limited mobility, answered his door after hearing banging outside his home. A female at the door asked to use the homeowner’s phone before abruptly entering. The female suspect twice made it appear as if she was leaving the residence, only to be found in other rooms of the home moments later.
The homeowner called 911, and police arrived while the accused was still inside the home. The responding officer located the suspect inside the home and arrested her without incident.
Items believed to have been stolen from the home were found in the accused woman’s possession.
A 29-year-old Thunder Bay woman is charged with:
- Break and Enter.
- Obstruct Peace Officer.
- Breach of Probation x 2.”
On September 19th, 2019, Kristie Anne Bouchard appeared in a Judge’s court to plead guilty and sort out these outstanding criminal charges. His Honour, Justice Dino DiGiuseppe was presiding over the matter while Derrick “The Hammer” Silvestro prosecuted the case as the Crown Attorney. Criminal defence lawyer Elisa Coates is present on behalf of Bouchard.
Court starts with Bouchard pleading guilty to a breach of probation which included failing to report. Further, she is arraigned on the break and enter charge but pleads not guilty. She instead pleads guilty to the lesser charge of Unlawfully in a Dwelling House. Another Probation Breach is plead guilty to, regarding failing to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”. Finally she pleads guilty to a charge of “Obstruct Police by providing a false name.
AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS
On August 18th, an officer with the Thunder Bay Police Service attended an address on Machar Ave. On arrival of police officers, they spoke to the owner of the home. Police located and identified a female in the home of the medically compromised senior citizen. Investigation revealed that Bouchard had attended the home and some conversation had taken place before she entered the home, sat on the couch in the living room and made a phone call.
It is at this point she had made her way to the top floor of the home, rummaging through his stuff. The home owner suffers from Parkinson’s disease and was unable to give chase. He was concerned about this behaviour and called police to handle it. The home owner heard a door slammed shut and it was thought that she had left. At this point he heard a second door slammed shut and he realized she is still in the home.
The elderly man was missing an iPhone and an iPad that were previously on the chair that Bouchard was sitting in when she made the phone call earlier.
Police made their way to the top floor where they located the woman and she told the responding officers that she was there to “do a date”. Bouchard was in possession of a pair of shoes, Sketchers brand, which were the property of the home owners wife. The Home owner informed police that he did not know who Bouchard was and had never seen her before today.
Upon asking Bouchard for her name, she gave a series of false names and false birth dates before providing her real name.
The Crown states that Bouchard has a criminal record which is filed into the court record.
Elisa Coates states that Bouchard grew up in Thunder Bay but is from Longlac. Her mother is in the court and it is said that she struggled with alcohol addiction. She did not really know her biological father. She was introduced to alcohol at an early age.
She struggles with drug addiction involving opiates and crack cocaine. Lately she has been struggling with opiates. Court hears that her mother has successfully gotten sober 8 years ago………
Court hears that she wants to obtain treatment options and that being in custody may assist with that. She admits that in the moment inside the homeowners house, that she took advantage of the situation.
Her drug use has been even more detrimental to her physical well-being.
The Crown submits that the breach of probation charge would use up 20 days of presentence custody and the unlawfully in a dwelling charge would be a 2 year sentence followed by 18 months of probation. Her probation conditions will be:
- Report within 48 hours of being released from jail and as required there after.
- Do not contact the home owner.
- Do not attend his home.
- Submit her DNA to the national database.
No restitution order is being sought as all the property was recovered at the scene. Bouchards criminal record has repeat property theft charges. The sentence is in respect of that repeat behaviour and “crime of opportunity”. This type of sentencing is meant to deter Bouchard and others from this behaviour.
Silvestro hammers that this is a proper sentence as the conduct and criminal record scream stiff sentencing required.
His Honour, Justice DiGiuseppe asks Bouchard if she has anything to say, she declines. He tells her that her pleading guilty and doing time before sentencing has been taken into consideration. He acknowledges her issues with addictions and other issues. “at some point Ms Bouchard, you have to take charge” as His Honour mentions that only she can get the help for her. He further reminds Bouchard that she has a previous break and enter charge on her criminal record. Court hears that this type of criminal conduct is consistent with addiction and the need to feed those addictions.
The Judge says he cannot ignore how serious this charge is, and says that the two year sentence offered is on the low end of the scale. He says that 3 years or more could be warranted if it wasn’t for the mitigating factors. “This is essentially a home invasion” His Honour points out, adding that this was the home of an elderly couple that are medically compromised.
His Honour agrees to the sentence and orders Bouchard to serve two years in jail from today forward. He reads out her list of probation conditions which includes counselling for substance abuse. Bouchard will sit in jail for a significant time before she is released and on probation.