Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mail thief wanting drug money got Christmas wishes

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HE was hoping to find some cash to feed his drug addiction, but all Josh Cook ended up with were some bills and a Christmas card.

Cook, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday to mail theft for an incident that occurred last December.

A resident of Lipton Street called police after spotting Cook leafing through several mailboxes. Officers arrived on the scene quickly and caught Cook in the act. He tried to run away but was chased down a short distance away, with several envelopes still in his possession. Cook told police he was desperate for money to buy drugs. The stolen mail was returned to the intended recipients.

Cook has no prior criminal record and has been diagnosed as suffering from some "intellectual challenges" along with his drug issues, court was told.

Provincial court Judge Tracey Lord said she was giving Cook a break by dishing out a conditional discharge that will allow him to maintain a clean slate, provided he stays out of trouble for the next 15 months. Cook must also do 20 hours of community service while on probation and continue to attend counselling and treatment programs he's enrolled in since his arrest.

The Crown told court Wednesday it's unfortunate not even private mailboxes are safe from thieves. Last month, city police issued a warning to homeowners to watch their mail after a Canada Post community mail unit was robbed in a south Winnipeg residential subdivision.

Last fall, a 28-year-old Winnipeg man was arrested for rooting through people's mail and stealing several Winnipeg Jets tickets, which he then sold over the Internet.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2012 B2

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