(THUNDER BAY, ON) – We first reported on an incident that unfolded at Renco’s food located at 146 Centennial Square (beside Victoriaville Mall) within an hour of it happening on November 29th, 2019.
Police arrested and charged 27-year-old Caroline Eileen Finlayson with theft under $5000 along with assault to resist arrest. On Friday, December 20th, 2019, she appeared in a Thunder Bay Courthouse courtroom via the prisoner’s box while handcuffed to enter a guilty plea on those two charges.
Visiting Judge, His Honour, Justice Joseph Wilson was presiding along with Crown Attorney Jane-Ann McGill and the super-sharp Neil McCartney as Finlayson’s criminal defence lawyer. Court starts with Finlayson entering her guilty pleas and then the Crown reads in the agreed statement of facts.
The facts are that Finlayson had consumed cocaine and heroin before entering the Renco’s and headed down an aisle where she grabbed a can of coke. As she went to the cashier to pay for the coke, she slipped a Caramilk bar into her purse. She paid for the can of coke but failed to pay for the chocolate bar. A loss prevention officer observed this.
Finlayson then exited the store and was approached by a Loss Prevention Officer who grabbed her wrist and informed her that she was under arrest for theft. It is at this point that she became violently resistive and bit the officer three-time, breaking the skin on his leg. Her saliva was located on his skin.
Finlayson lost a tooth during the triple-bite and she was taken to the hospital as she informed first responders that she used an unknown amount of cocaine and heroin.
Finlayson is no stranger to the criminal justice system. She has a couple of entries on her criminal record and this is her second violent offence. Through counsel, Finlayson indicates that both of her parents are active drug addicts from the time of her birth. She grew up in a foster home. When Finlayson was 18, she got pregnant and was an “active addict” during the pregnancy. Dilico removed the child from her care at birth. Her drug of choice is of the opiate family.
When Finlayson was 18, she got pregnant and was an “active addict” during the pregnancy. Dilico removed the child from her care at birth. Her drug of choice are of the opiate family.
There is a joint submission put forth for the Judge to consider. Both the Crown and the defence submit that a 90-day sentence would be appropriate for these offences. Court hears that Finlayson was on a “conditional sentence order” during the time of the offence which has now collapsed. As well, she is still on a probation order from a previous conviction which still has plenty of time left on it. The submission indicates that there is no need for a second, overlapping probation order to be made.
Finlayson was put on her Conditional Sentence Order on October 31st, 2019. She is going to spend the remainder of that order in jail. The joint submission also calls for Finlayson’s DNA to be entered into the national DNA database as well as a two-year weapons ban.
The 90 days is broken down into 15 days for the theft and 75 days for the triple-bite assault/resist arrest. All other charges are withdrawn.
The Judge speaks to Finlayson and tells her how this simple and petty theft turned into something much more serious and alarming, when it didn’t have to. He grants the joint submission and Finlayson is escorted back into the courthouse holding cells, she’s headed back to the clink for the time being.
HISTORY article dated November 30th, 2019:
(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Last night, allegations arose that a woman stole items from the south side Renco’s grocery store. A portion of the incident was caught on video (posted later in the article).
After a struggle was caught on camera, police arrived and arrested 27-year-old Caroline Eileen Finlayson and held her in custody. Further, Finlayson was on a “conditional sentence order”, which is when criminals get to serve their jail sentence at home, similar to a “house arrest”. A warrant for her arrest was issued “quite some time ago” when allegations arose that she breached that “house arrest” order.
Finlayson appeared in a Thunder Bay courtroom this morning via video link while in police custody at the Thunder Bay Police Service station. Justice of the Peace Bruce Leaman was presiding along with Crown Attorney Derrick “The HAMMER” Silvestro and the very talented duo filling the duty counsel position Emily Morris and Brennan Sacevich.
Finlayson is facing the following charges:
- Theft under $5000 (Renco’s).
- Assault with intent to resist lawful arrest.
- Breaching a probation order made on October 31, 2019 (keep the peace and be of good behaviour).
The Crown is sternly opposed to the release of Finlayson today, Silvestro throws down the HAMMER. Finlayson refused to speak with duty counsel today as well.
She is being remanded into custody and will remain in jail at least until her next scheduled court date set for Monday, December 2nd, 2019.
HISTORY article dated December 4th, 2019:
Sources indicate that the Caroline Finlayson had allegedly stolen a single chocolate bar from the Renco’s located in Centennial Square, next to Victoriaville Mall. A loss prevention officer was on duty and decided to pursue her out of the store.
Some damage was caused to the doors of the store and an arrest was effectively made.
Further, sources say that the loss prevention officer (LPO) was told by management not to do anything about tiny thefts. We have been told that the LPO had been told this on numerous occasions.
That LPO is now believed to be on the hook for the damage to the door, amounting in the hundreds of dollars as well as may lose their job at Renco’s, if they haven’t already.
Theft is a rampant problem plaguing stores all over the city. By neutering LPO’s in their duty will have the expected or ought to be expected result of increased theft.