A Williams Lake man who has been on house arrest for the last six months, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen property relating to looting that occurred during the summer’s wildfires.
Nicholas Ivany, 28, was sentenced in Williams Lake Provincial court on Feb. 5, 2018 and received a 15-day jail sentence, (with 10 days credited for 15 time served) and probation for 12 months, said Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service.
“That sentence also took into account that Mr. Ivany had been subjected to a house arrest condition since August 10, 2017,” McLaughlin noted in an e-mailed response, adding Ivany also pleaded guilty and was sentenced for possession of cocaine and two counts of breach of bail conditions.
Ivany was the subject of much criticism on social media after charges were laid last summer and in recent days with many calling for harsher penalties for offenders.
When the Tribune reached out to Ivany Tuesday, he said he was not part of any looting, but had purchased the property from someone he met at a friend’s home, not knowing it was stolen.
“I purchased property for which I thought was helping someone out with extra money for their evacuation expenses. Along with (them) not having room to take the items I purchased,” Ivany noted in a response.
“There was not one piece of evidence to put me at any of the said lootings that occurred.”
When asked what he thought of the looting during the wildfires and the strong reaction from the public, Ivany said he agreed that everyone has the right to be upset.
“That is a tragedy in itself, to be dealing with the wildfires, let alone coming home to your place being ransacked. I feel the same way anyone else would feel. Very disgusted in the actions of what was done and how harsh it must have been for the victims of it as well.”
Back on July 11, Ivany and Alana Mika Ward, 23, were arrested during a routine RCMP vehicle stop at Ninth Avenue and Latin Street.
During a search of the vehicle, police officers located a television, believed to have been taken during a break and enter from an evacuated home on July 8 in Wildwood, the RCMP said in a press release issued at the time.
Based on that stop, a search warrant was executed on July 12 of a residence on Tenth Avenue North and another residence on Eleventh Avenue North, where investigators discovered several items believed to have been taken from three other evacuated residences, the RCMP said.
On Aug. 11 the RCMP confirmed that Ivany and Ward were charged on Aug. 9 for breaching conditions and the two faced charges including possession of tools suitable for the purpose of break and enter contrary to section 351(1) of the Criminal Code, possession of a Controlled Substance contrary to section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act and three (3) counts of breach of Recognizance contrary to section 145(3) of the Criminal Code.
All charges against Ward were stayed on Feb. 5.
Crown also stayed the other charges against Ivany including willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer and possession of tools suitable for the purpose of break and entry.
Ivany also said he is not a prolific offender, as reported in the media.
Editor’s note: It is believed Nicholas Ivany was back in police custody as of Wednesday, Feb. 14.