Cornwall thief serving ‘life on the installment plan’, judge says

The front entrance to the Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A judge says a Cornwall man is headed down a path of a “life (sentence) on the installment plan” and his second chances may be running out if he doesn’t clean up his act.

Those sobering words from Deborah Kinsella on June 4 as she sentenced 25-year-old Kyle Delorme to 10 months in jail. He went on a petty theft rampage throughout the city in late March.

Delorme pleaded guilty to 15 charges, which included theft, assault, mischief, covering his face in the commission of a crime and court breaches for failing to keep the peace and for failing to abstain from alcohol.

Kinsella said she had to consider a fit, global sentence for all the charges because sentencing on each charge, given his previous criminal record, would have led to “several years” in prison.

“I don’t want to impose a sentence that’s so crushing on you that you can’t get beyond this. But I’ll say this, and I don’t know if another judge has ever said to you, have you heard that phrase ‘life on the installment plan’? Do you know what that means? It means you’re serving a life sentence but you’re serving it 30 days here, 60 days here, 90 days here. At some point you’re going to want to stop that because at some point a judge…is going to…start counting your sentences in terms of years, not months. Luckily you’re not there yet but you maybe close to your last chance for that,” Kinsella said.

Court heard how parking machines at the Cornwall Community Hospital and the McConnell Medical Center, a coin-operated vacuum and video camera at Guindon Esso on Marleau Avenue and a car wash coin-operated machine at Four Seasons Car Wash were all broken into or vandalized in late March. Sledge hammers or pry bars were used to break into the machines, Crown attorney Andre White explained. In some cases, Delorme had accomplices in the commission of the crimes. One of those accused is still before the courts.

In the case of the Four Seasons Car Wash on Brookdale Avenue, car care products were also stolen. There was also beer taken from FreshCo on Ninth Street East after Delorme stuck the booze in his backpack and walked out of the store without paying for them.

On two other occasions, Delorme had stolen a television, several coats and a laptop computer from family members and had assaulted one of them.

Victim impact statements were filed with the court from the owners of Guindon Esso and the Four Seasons Car Wash. The damage to those businesses were $5,377 and $3,775.

Defence lawyer Frank Horn said his client has had problems since his early teens but his family has always been there to support him.

“If he didn’t have his mother or his girlfriend he would be completely alone. There would be nobody he could turn to. His father is in custody on other charges and he and his father see each other in jail. They attend church every Sunday…they attend AA meetings,” Horn said.

Horn said his client has “always been the butt end of jokes, made fun of” because of the way he walks. Horn says Delorme “survives” on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) while living with his family and was “not likely” to get a job.

Delorme’s mother and girlfriend were in the courtroom for the sentencing. “The reason why they are here is they want to help Kyle. They’re here because they don’t want to abandoned him into the community because the community will swallow him up. That’s just the way it is in this town,” Horn said.

Judge Kinsella challenged Horn’s assertion that the family was working together as a team to sort itself out because Delorme was on probation and ended up in trouble again.

In addition to his 10 months in jail, Delorme will have to pay half the damage to the businesses – $4,576. It’s the intention of the prosecution for another accused in the crimes to pay the other half. Delorme also has to pay back his mother $1,200.

Delorme was arrested March 27 and had been in jail for 70 days. That 70 days was used as credit for time served.

He will also be on probation for two years, following the completion of his sentence.

A co-accused in the case – 47-year-old Kelly Tan – will appear in court on June 29 for a judicial pretrial.