(THUNDER BAY, ON) – On Monday, January 6th, 2020, a 24-year-old Nikki Johnson from Whitesand First Nation appeared in courtroom 102 at the Thunder Bay Courthouse. She was scheduled to plead guilty to 10 counts of theft, all from local LCBO locations.
She was escorted into the prisoner’s box by Thunder Bay Police Service Special Constables after being transported to the courthouse from the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre. She was housed in the courthouses holding cells located in the basement.
Justice Frank Valente was presiding over court that morning along with Crown Attorney Katrina “Lock ’em UP!” VanKessel. Johnson had hired expert criminal defence lawyer Ryan Green to represent her throughout her case.
Court begins with Johnson pleading guilty to 10 charges of theft from various LCBO locations across the city. It appears a plea deal has been struck with the Crown that would have her remaining charges withdrawn once she pleads guilty to the ten counts of theft. She has almost 30 outstanding charges.
The ten theft counts that she pleads guilty to include thefts from the LCBO’s located at 1095 Arthur Street West, 969 Fort William Road and 1010 Dawson Road. They all have the common theme of her entering the store, grabbing one or multiple bottles then leaving the store without paying for them. She sometimes placed the merchandise up her shirt, or in a backpack, or just walked out with it in hand.
During one incident, loss prevention officers stopped her and recovered a bottle but while escorting her out of the store she grabbed a bottle on the way out. Loss prevention officers recovered that bottle and removed her from the store. When they reviewed surveillance footage of the incident they noticed that she grabbed a third bottle without the loss prevention officers noticing before her being removed from the store.
During a different incident, when she was confronted by staff, she shouted “fuck you!” to the employee and fled the scene.
Court hears that Johnson’s record is numerous pages long and has 8 previous thefts. Her total dollar amount tied to the 10 thefts is just over $600.
Green tells the court on behalf of his client that Johnson has been using drugs since she was 14 and has a history of being neglected and traumatized. Before her theft-spree started she had just lost custody of her child which she indicates sent her on a downward spiral. Her child is with her mother.
A joint submission is put forth by both the Crown and defence which is calling for a global sentence of 5 months for the 10 thefts. Court hears that Johnson has spent about 90 days in jail which gets enhanced to 135 days. This would leave her with about 2 weeks left to serve after today’s date. That jail sentence will be followed by 12 months of probation with the following conditions:
- Not attend the three LCBO locations where these incidents took place.
- Take counselling for alcohol, drugs, trauma and grief.
The victim fine surcharge is waived as court hears that Johnson is on ODSP and has limited funds. The reason the fine was waived is because the court believes it would cause “undue financial strain”. Justice Valente tells the court that Johnson should focus on the restitution order he makes, ordering Johnson to pay back the three LCBO locations for the over $600 in alcohol she stole.
Justice Frank Valente appears to scold Johnson and asks her where she went wrong to think she could just walk into the LCBO and take what she wants without paying. He urges her to do better and better herself. Further, he accepts the joint submission and sentences Johnson to the proposed terms.
Johnson is escorted back into the courthouse basement where she awaited prisoner transport back to the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre.
History, article dated October 9th, 2019:
(THUNDER BAY, ON) – The secret is out ladies and gentlemen, security guards at the LCBO are not allowed to place their hands on you. It’s a “no-touch” policy. The numerous amounts of cameras just catch the criminal’s faces and then police put out a warrant for their arrest after they perpetrate a booze heist.
Well, aren’t you in for a surprise. One date in June, then from August 14th right up to September 12 a woman pulled off 21 LCBO alcohol HEISTS. The woman was arrested and released only to allegedly have committed 3 more LCBO heists on September 24th and 26th. A total of 24 heists happened between two LCBO locations in town, the one located at the Thunder Centre, 969 Fort William Road and the Arthur Street location located at 1095 Arthur Street.
Officers with the Thunder Bay Police Service entered into an investigation and identified the woman using surveillance footage. A warrant for her arrest was issued. As a result of their investigative measures, police have arrested and charged 24-year-old Nikki Johnson. That’s one heist for every year she’s been alive. Johnson was previously released on 21 counts of theft from the LCBO but is now alleged to have pulled off three more heists and failed to appear for fingerprinting since her release. Her charges in total are:
- Theft under $5000 x24.
- Failing to appear for fingerprints.
Dates of alleged heists (Note: Some days had more than 1 heist performed):
- June 22, 2019.
- August 14, 2019.
- August 15, 2019.
- August 20, 2019.
- August 23, 2019.
- August 24, 2019.
- August 26, 2019.
- August 27, 2019.
- August 31, 2019.
- September 1, 2019.
- September 3, 2019.
- September 10, 2019.
- September 11, 2019.
- September 12, 2019.
- September 19, 2019.
- September 24, 2019.
- September 26, 2019.
- September 27, 2019.
She appeared in a Thunder Bay Courthouse (A.K.A. “The In and Out Day Spa”) courtroom this morning via video link while in police custody at the Thunder Bay Police Service station (A.K.A. “Hotel Balmoral”). Her Worship, Justice of the Peace Jennifer Neill was presiding along with Crown Attorney Katrina “Lock Them Up!” Van Kessel and a law student was present on behalf of Ryan Green.
The Crown tells the court that Johnson has found herself in a reverse-onus situation which means that the onus is on her to show the courts why she should be released from jail. Further, the court hears that the Crown will be seeking Johnson’s detention in jail, meaning they are opposed to her release from jail. Primary and secondary grounds are cited as concerns regarding Johnson’s release.
Primary ground concerns mean that the Crown believes that if Johnson were to be released, she is substantially likely not to return to court to handle these matters. Secondary ground concerns tell us that the Crown believes there is a substantial likelihood that the accused will either become a public safety concern, re-offend or both, should they be released.
Ryan Green’s law student requests that the matter returns to court tomorrow. This will give them more time to come up with a bail plan if one is possible.
Her Worship, Justice of the Peace Neill orders Johnson to remain in jail for the time being. She will return to court tomorrow for another swing at getting released.