Bike theft, other charges, nets three months

By Dan McRoberts - Canmore

A Canmore man will spend three months behind bars for the rash theft of a bicycle and other crimes.

Justin Charles Cassoff pleaded guilty to drug possession, unauthorized possession of a weapon, theft under $5,000 and possession of stolen property in Canmore Provincial Court, June 27. Three other charges against the man were withdrawn.

Cassoff has a lengthy criminal record related to drug abuse and his illegal attempts to fund his habit, and was living under the terms of a conditional sentence order when his parents contacted authorities, concerned that he had started to use drugs again.

RCMP raided Cassoff's room and discovered a small amount of marijuana and a spike ring, which is a prohibited weapon. Cassoff was fined for both offences.

The more serious charge against Cassoff stemmed from an incident on June 10, when someone observed him entering a neighbour's garage and riding away on a Kona bike, valued at $5,000.

The police were later alerted to the fact that Cassoff was a passenger in a pickup truck and after a short pursuit, apprehended both the driver of the vehicle and Cassoff, who had another person's chequebook. RCMP discovered the item had been stolen prior to his arrest.

Defence lawyer Michael Kiss and Crown Prosecutor Jim Yusep submitted a joint application for three months in custody, but Cassoff's father addressed the court, describing the difficulties with his son due to his addiction to crack cocaine.

"I don't know how to deal with him anymore," said Cassoff's father. "He needs to get into a rehab program."

The judge agreed, to a point. "Your dad's not going to fix your problems and I'm not going to fix your problems," he said. "You have to fix it... hopefully you'll learn something from this. If you don't you'll get more time the next time."

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