‘Breakout burglar’ sentenced for North Vancouver crimes

A man dubbed the “breakout burglar” by police after hiding inside North Vancouver businesses after closing time to steal cash and valuables before breaking out again has been sentenced.

Shane Harold Davidson, 46, was found guilty last year of theft, breaking and entering, and assault as well as two counts of the more rarely seen criminal charge breaking out of a place after committing an offence while inside.

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On two occasions in 2017 and 2018, Davidson climbed above the freezers in the Westview Shopping Centre Safeway store and hid in the ceiling until after closing time, said Justice Maria Morellato, summarizing what happened at a sentencing in B.C. Supreme Court July 5 . Davidson cut through the drywall to get into a locked office where he helped himself to cash, the court found.

On the second burglary though, Davidson was caught in the act by a store clerk. The victim was starting her shift around 5:20 a.m. when she opened the officer door and found Davidson, said Morellato. She screamed when Davidson slapped her hand away from the light switch as she entered the office. He then struck her on the cheek hard enough to knock her to the floor and causing to hit her head on a chair, said Morellato.

The victim never returned to work following the attack. The assault left her with post-traumatic stress disorder, the court heard. In portions of her victim impact statement, she said she suffered migraines for six months after and she continues to experience panic attacks, nightmares, fears about entering dark rooms and turning around corners, including in her own home, said Morellato, quoting from the letter.

“These fears are so troubling because they cause anxiety and stress and I know it is affecting every part of me, yet I am powerless to stop them,” the victim said in the statement read in court.

The PTSD has left her isolated from family and friends, she added.

The Crown had urged Morellato to hand down a sentence of between 3.5 and 4.5 years plus three years of probation, given Davidson’s extensive criminal history – 12 convictions since 2010 as well as several breaches of probation – and because of the level of sophistication and planning that went into his crimes.

Davidson’s lawyer argued he should be let go with a sentence of under 24 months, arguing Davidson’s history of offending was directly tied to his mental illness, which he had only recently accepted and sought treatment for.

Morellato agreed with the Crown “it was clear that previous sentences had not worked,” in deterring Davidson from further crimes, but she acknowledged his attempts deal with his mental health and addictions.

Morallato sentenced Davidson to 30 months, less time served. Davidson has been in custody since his arrest, meaning his remaining sentence is six months in jail, plus two years of probation.

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