Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Teen faces jail time after vandalism spree

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Winnipeg police seized pipe bombs, guns and other weapons from a teen's home after a vandalism spree saw car windows shot out, transit shelters trashed and an explosive device set off in a Dumpster outside a church, court heard Tuesday.

And now, a first-time offender is facing up to a year behind bars for his role in an hours-long series of destructive acts one night last fall that snaked around the eastern part of the city.

Dillon Lockhart, 18, pleaded guilty in provincial court Tuesday to several crimes, including mischief, possession of an explosive substance, and careless use and storage of a firearm.

On Oct. 12, 2013, Lockhart and some friends went to the Windsor Park neighbourhood and caused thousands of dollars in damage, Judge Judith Elliott heard.

Glass in several car windows and Winnipeg Transit shelters was shattered with shots from a pellet gun and two schools were vandalized.

Fire crews had to rush to the scene of a garbage-bin fire outside of a church on Dussault Avenue after an explosive device was set off inside it.

Police received a dozen calls relating to the night's outbreak of mischief.

Investigators didn't get a lead on who was responsible until they got a licence plate number from a man whose car was shot at as he was sitting in it. The man had chased down and boxed in a Jeep on a dead-end street and wrote down the licence plate before the Jeep bumped past his car and took off.

That information led police from one arrest to another and ultimately right to the Baudoux Place home where Lockhart lived.

Concerned about what they'd find inside, police brought in their bomb-disposal squad to assist with the search.

Two improperly stored rifles were seized from Lockhart's bedroom, as were several pellet guns from underneath his bed.

In the garage, police discovered homemade PVC pipe bombs.

The devices only needed detonators to make them work, Crown attorney Renee Lagimodiere said. "They were fully functional bombs," she said.

"What Mr. Lockhart took part in... is behaviour that would shock the community," Lagimodiere told Elliott.

She asked Elliott to send Lockhart to jail for a year, with 18 months of probation to follow.

Elliott said she was struggling for an explanation for Lockhart's behaviour, which his lawyer put down as "extreme teenage stupidity."

A psychological report suggested Lockhart hoped to impress his friends and wanted to fit in with them.

"I wasn't smart enough to stand up for myself," he told Dr. Kent Somers.

He told police he thought it would be "neat" to make the explosive devices, said defence lawyer Marc Zurbuchen.

Offered a chance to explain himself, Lockhart said the bomb-making started when a friend brought fireworks to his home, and later, gunpowder.

"It kind of got to the point where it is now," Lockhart said.

Lockhart was found to be a low risk to reoffend. In recent years, he's been through some family turmoil that may have influenced how he acted, court heard.

The Crown wants him to pay nearly $5,000 in restitution for the damage, a third of the total damage caused in the vandalism spree.

Two other co-accused remain before the court. Elliott will sentence Lockhart on Tuesday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2014 B2

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