Guilty plea in crime spree from GTA to Brockville, North Glengarry

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The courthouse at 29 Second Street West in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL, Ont. – A homeless man from Mississauga will serve 18 months in jail for two days of criminal activity, stretching from the GTA to Brockville, Cornwall and North Glengarry earlier this year.

Weston Rumble, 28, pleaded guilty in a Cornwall court this morning (Monday) to automobile theft, theft of gasoline, dangerous driving, evading police and break-and-enter.

The balance of charges were withdrawn at the request of the Crown.

The young, black man with a full beard and long hair tied in a bun, showed no emotion as the facts were read into the court record.

Court heard Rumble had stolen a white Acura RDX in Toronto and stolen gas in the GTA before making his way east on Feb. 26, 2015.

Once in Brockville in the early morning hours of Feb. 27, 2015, Rumble stole $50.13 in gas from the Petro-Canada gas station on Stewart Boulevard before heading to SD&G.

In an agreed statement of facts, Crown Attorney Elaine Evans recounted how an SD&G O.P.P. officer spotted the stolen vehicle on Highway 401 around 1 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2015 and attempted to stop it.

That turned into a “dangerous pursuit” where the fleeing vehicle reached speeds of 220 to 230 kilometers an hour – sometimes driving on the shoulders of Highway 401 – before the pursuit was called off by police for public safety concerns.

Crown Attorney Evans said the pursuit was picked up again in Alexandria “for a very short period of time” but called off once again for safety reasons as the vehicle fled north on County Road 34 “at an extreme rate of speed.”

Later that day (Feb. 27, 2015) O.P.P. officers were alerted to a break-and-enter at a home on Dunvegan Road East, near Dalkeith.

“A witness … attended a residence after school and was confronted by a male in the living room. She stated that the male was not known to her and she immediately fled the residence to a neighbour’s and called 911 to report the incident.”

When officers arrived on the scene there were three “distraught” women running towards their police vehicle and a white SUV stuck in a snowbank at the dead-end of Dunvegan Road East.

At least five officers contained the suspect until the canine, Emergency Response Team and the crisis negotiator could arrive on scene.

Even though several marked police vehicles were surrounding the home, Rumble made no attempt to contact them or pick up the phone in the house, court heard.

Evans said the police made entry into the house and found Rumble “sitting on the couch watching TV.”

Defence lawyer James Harbic described Rumble as a homeless man from Mississauga who was raised by his mother and has had “periodic contact” with her.

The 28-year-old has no dependents, no drug or alcohol addictions, and has had “sporadic employment” in factories and as a general labourer, Harbic told the court.

“He’s been homeless for approximately the last five years. He’s had difficulty in finding employment. He does not offer any explanation for his criminal behaviour but has admitted to (it). It’s very hard living on the streets in Toronto,” Harbic said.

Harbic added that a mitigating factor was the fact there was no injuries, an argument challenged by the Crown and Judge Franco Giamberardino.

“This has had an impact, particularly on the family whose house was broken into. The daughter, being approximately 18 years of age, is still acquiring assistance to get over the shock and fear of coming home and finding a stranger camped out in her home,” said Crown Attorney Elaine Evans.

Prior to imposing the sentence – in a quiet, almost mumbling manner – Rumble addressed the court. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I did, all this time I’ve been in pre-trial custody. I think I’ve, like, learned a bit … I’m sorry.”

“This combination of facts could have been disastrous from start to finish,” Judge Franco Giamberardino said, “From the driving to entering someone else’s residence, ah, the police pursuit. The opportunity for things to have gone wrong, not only for yourself, but for the civilians who would have been sharing the highway who are entitled to do so in a same manner,” the judge said.

“I tell you Mr. Rumble, factually, and as well as the sentence, it could have gone much worse for you,” the judge said.

The court also considered Rumble’s lengthy criminal record, which includes previous convictions for dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and thefts specifically targeting motor vehicles.

With time served since his arrest on Feb. 27, 2015, Rumble will spend 114 days in jail.

Rumble will be on probation for three years.

He has a 10 year driving ban (even with the 10 year sentence, Rumble will likely have a lifetime suspension under the Highway Traffic Act), a 10 year weapons ban and will not be able to attend SD&G except for travel through via Highway 401.

He will also have to submit a DNA sample and there is also a no-contact order on the victims and witnesses in the case.

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