Email this articleE-mail this story  Letter to the EDITORWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad

Woman jailed for 'business terrorism'

Judge condemns theft-related crime spree

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 09/02) - Judge Brian Bruser sentenced a woman to six months in jail and labelled her "a business terrorist" after she went around town on a shoplifting spree June 5.

Shelly Leonardis, 26, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft under $5,000 in territorial court Tuesday, while her common-law husband, Frank Paper, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen property.

Bruser called Leonardis a "one-person crime wave" and said she was practising a "form of business terrorism."

Paper was her driver on the day the offences were committed. He was fined $500.

The court heard the RCMP received a complaint that a woman had walked out of Canadian Tire with a DVD player.

A short time later RCMP officers arrested Paper, who drove the car, outside the Gold Range and seized the stolen property. Leonardis was nowhere to be found, but turned herself in later.

She provided a statement the following day in which she admitted to taking the DVD player, as well as items from Mark's Work Warehouse, Reitman's and Dayset Clothing.

She also admitted to stealing three boxes of meat from Extra Foods May 30.

Then on July 21, employees of the Saan store on Old Airport Road reported to police that a woman had run out of the store with some clothing, setting off the alarm as she fled. Police were told she left the scene in a white car. Employees recorded the license plate number and police located the vehicle a short time later, the court heard.

Bruser referred to a victim impact statement submitted by a Reitman's employee. The author indicated shoplifting has an impact on the entire community in that customers absorb the additional cost incurred by the company through thefts.

In addition to the six-month jail term, Bruser imposed a one-year probationary term in which the woman is prohibited from entering Extra Foods, Jayset Clothing, Reitman's, Mark's Work Warehouse and the Saan Store.