He broke in, couldn’t get out, now he’s in jail

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Sarnia Courthouse

Alex Kurial
Local Journalism Initiative

A Sarnia man who found his way into an apartment building – but had trouble finding his way out – received a six month jail sentence on trespassing and drug charges.
The offenses took place in April this year when Charles Perry, 40, broke into the foyer of a Front St. apartment by jigging the door lock. Once inside he made his way down to the building’s parking garage and attempted to open the door to let in someone in a pickup truck waiting outside.
Perry found he could not open the door without a key fob. When he attempted to get back to the foyer he found that a fob was needed for that door as well.
Surveillance video showed that Perry attempted to open exit doors for about 10 minutes. He finally found a window he was able to squeeze through and escape.
The next day an officer investigating the break-in saw a man at an Exmouth St. Tim Hortons wearing the exact same clothes as seen on surveillance video.
The officer arrested Perry for the break-in. During a search 1.2 grams of meth was found on Perry.
Just a month before the Front St. break-in, Perry had been convicted on another break and enter charge. He was also arrested a few days after that for having break and enter tools.
During sentencing on Aug. 5 defense lawyer Rob Kitto says Perry’s criminal issues are rooted in substance abuse.
“He struggled for a number of years with crack cocaine and managed to get that under control,” says Kitto. “Unfortunately he went through some life struggles and has developed an issue with methamphetamine.”
But Kitto says his client has taken positive steps during incarceration. “While he’s been in custody he’s availed himself of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) as much as he can and is certainly hopeful to continue with counselling upon release.”
“I’m sorry for the things I’ve done. I’m sorry for wasting [the court’s] time,” Perry says prior to hearing the verdict.
Kitto asked for five months on the pair of charges, while the prosecution suggested six. Justice Krista Leszczynski decided the longer sentence was more appropriate. She cited Perry’s criminal record in her decision.
“I’m also cognizant of your criminal record. It’s a very lengthy record for very similar offenses,” says Leszczynski. Perry received five months for trespassing and one month for meth possession.
Leszczynski says Perry needs to take serious steps to address his addiction issues to avoid harsher punishment in the future.
“You clearly have a serious addiction issue which explains your continual involvement in property related offenses, and that has yet to be addressed by you through probation or in the community,” she says.
Perry will serve just under a month in jail after factoring in pre-sentence custody.
After his release Perry will be on probation for 12 months.
He must continue to take substance abuse counselling, not have any drugs, and stay away from the Front St. apartment.
“The longer that [drug addiction] remains an issue in your life, the higher the likelihood that we will see you continue to come before the court, and you will be spending time in custody,” Leszczynski says.