Arson/Armed robbery cases working through court system
Police are slowly working two massive files through the court system, with the first reaching sentencing in Castlegar court Monday.
Lee Wilding, 19, offered a guilty plea in the arson causing more than half a million dollars in damage to the Kinnaird Church of God on March 18 – a crime he committed just one week after being released from a prison sentence garnered as a result of an arson on March 25, 2013, that destroyed St. Rita’s Catholic Church in Castlegar as well as gutting a Red Cross van, and for which Wilding was convicted and sentenced to 14 months in jail and three years probation.
RCMP Cpl. Darryl Orr, commanding officer of the Trail and Castlegar Crime Reduction Units, said Wilding was sentenced in this latest arson to two years federal imprisonment plus three years probation, and should be looking at release by September of 2015.
Orr said Wilding, when asked why he did it, responded only that it wasn’t about religion.
Meanwhile, a multi-jurisdictional investigation into a string of armed robberies in the region has police convinced they have the culprits in two break and enters, six area armed robberies, and one armed robbery in Kelowna.
“We’ve recommended charges in the six local robberies,” Orr said, adding the suspects are Andrew Stevenson, 33, and his common-law spouse Krista Kalmikoff, 25, the latter of whom was released on $40,000 bail.
Stevenson, who is currently facing a string of 15 charges, will remain in custody until his next court appearance June 10 in Nelson while Kalmikoff, was released on $40,000 bail.