Sarnia man believed break-ins part of treasure hunt

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Two year sentence will be spent in facility to help with mental health issues

Alex Kurial
Local Journalism Initiative

David Lefaive listened as the clerk in Sarnia court read a litany of eleven charges to which he plead guilty.
The charges, including five break and enters, were laid in a five month span.
In December 2019, police received a call of a man jumping on cars at Progressive Auto Sales on Exmouth St. The man then went next door to A&W and smashed the front window in with a tire iron.
When officers arrived they found Lefaive exiting the back door and arrested him.
He had destroyed three order terminals and another computer monitor while inside. The damage totalled more than $5,000.
Lefaive’s next target was the Sarnia Library at the end of February. Lefaive removed a computer stick from the back of a computer. He covered his face and attempted to avoid cameras as he left the library.
Police were at the library the next day reviewing the surveillance footage when Lefaive came back. He was quickly arrested for the theft, and for failing to attend court three days earlier.
Lefaive’s spree hit its climax at the end of April with four break and enters in three days.
The first occurred late on Apr. 24 when Lefaive broke into the One Tooth clothing store on Front St. by smashing the front door with a stone. He stole two t-shirts before being startled by a car outside and fleeing out the back door.
The same night an officer on patrol found the door of the Wine Well on Trudeau Dr. smashed apart.
The officer entered and found a rock inside, along with rummaged items and a kicked in office door. While investigating the surrounding area the officer entered a TD Bank. He found it had no power because someone tampered with the breaker box above the ATM.
Surveillance footage from the bank showed a man entered the ATM area of the bank and slept for about 20 minutes. At 1 am he woke up and suddenly climbed up the ATM to destroy the breaker box. The officer recognized the man as Lefaive.
The same man was seen on surveillance at One Tooth and the Wine Well.
The spree finally came to and end two days later.
Lefaive broke into the Mufflerman on Exmouth St. at 4:30 am and found the keys to a truck. He took off in the Ford Ranger, but a witness already called police.
Officers found the truck a short distance away on Alexander St. with Lefaive standing in the driveway. He was arrested on the several outstanding warrants from two nights before.
Defense lawyer Elizabeth Craig says Lefaive is dealing with serious mental health and substance abuse issues. She says her client believed he was on a treasure hunt to find the contents of a family will during this time period.
“That’s how messed up his thinking was while he was going through these charges that are before the court,” says Craig. “He’s advised me that he’s happy he got caught and that he wants to get cleaned up.”
“The damage that I did, I apologize and it won’t happen again. It will never happen again with me, it’s ridiculous,” says Lefaive.
A joint position of two years less a day was decided on for all of Lefaive’s crimes.
Craig asked that he spend his remaining time at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville so he can access drug addiction and mental health programs. Justice Krista Leszczynski agreed .
“It’s clear that your substance abuse has significantly contributed to your criminal conduct and has had a significant impact on your disordered thinking at the time that you were committing these offenses,” says Leszczynski.
“Unless you receive treatment sir, you can expect that these types of consequences are going to follow. It’s imperative that you take that counselling and that you take it seriously.”
With time served, Lefaive has just under 18 months left to spend in jail. After release he will be on probation for two years.
He must stay away from all of the places he broke into, pay restitution to several of the businesses, and continue counselling for mental health and substance abuse.
He’s also banned from having weapons for 10 years.