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Spiderthief still spinning his web behind bars

Thursday, April 8th, 2010 | 12:18 pm

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By Joe Fries

Remember Spiderthief?

He gained notoriety last summer after surveillance video was released to the media that showed him swinging from a ceiling-mounted video projector during a frenzied break-in at a Kelowna electronics store. Police dubbed him Spiderthief.

The owner of Starwatch Audio Video released footage of the June 11, 2009, theft in a bid to catch the crook who left the well-secured projector behind, but made off with a 55-inch plasma TV, laptop computer and monitor.

All the publicity paid off just five days later when a cop who arrested Alexander Tanasescu on an unrelated matter and realized he had Spiderthief in his custody.

Tanasescu, now 27, confessed to the crime and had the laptop and monitor, valued at a combined $3,800, which were returned to police. The 55-inch TV, worth about $6,000, was apparently sold on the street for $400.

Tanasescu refused to identify the female accomplice who drove the truck in which he made off with the loot.

Today in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna, Tanasescu was sentenced to two years less a day in prison on a single count of break and enter to commit theft. But because he’s been locked up since June 16, 2009, he was granted double credit for 297 days’ time served, leaving him with 135 days to go on the sentence, which will be followed by two years’ probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the business’s insurance company in the amount of $9,000.

Starwatch owner Peter Tischler told afterwards he is satisfied with the sentence.

“We’re happy that he has to pay restitution, but for us it was just more of an inconvenience what he did,” Tischler said.

Defence counsel Sheldon Tate was seeking a sentence of time served. He told court via telephone that his client immigrated to Canada in 1995 after fleeing his native Romania with his family to escape political turmoil there.

Tanasescu’s criminal record here began as a youth in 1996, with at least one new entry every year since, including three break-and-enter convictions as an adult in 2005 alone.

The break-in at Starwatch, Tate said, “was one of the more stupid things that he’s done in his time. He’s not ordinarily a drinker, although he was heavily intoxicated when the notion of this offence came forth and was executed by him.

“And it’s reflected by the fact that no gloves or mask or any other attempts (were made) to shield himself from the obvious surveillance equipment, (which) would indicate that this was an unsophisticated enterprise,” the Kamloops-based lawyer continued.

Tate noted that his client, who appeared today with a shaved head, wearing orange prison garb and cuffs at his wrists and ankles, completed his Grade 12 equivalent while in custody and also became a certified personal trainer.

Justice Janice Dillon applauded Tanasescu’s efforts to rehabilitate himself, but said his prior record required a stiffer penalty than time served.

The judge pointed out that Tanasescu was convicted May 26, 2009, of unauthorized possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property, for which he received a sentence of one day in jail and credit for 30 days’ time served.

“What’s interesting is just after that conviction on May 26, 2009, he then goes out and commits this offence 12 days later,” Dillon remarked. “He was on probation at the time and had just been convicted. That’s a very serious offence as far as this court is concerned.”

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2 Responses to “Spiderthief still spinning his web behind bars”

  1. AnOpinion says:
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    What an idiot… epic fail. Find a new line of work, you obviously aren’t very good at being a professional thief.

  2. Fred Norris says:
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    “Tanasescu’s criminal record here began as a youth in 1996, with at least one new entry every year since, including three break-and-enter convictions as an adult in 2005 alone”
    Hmmm. let’s do the math: 2009 – 1996 = 13 + 2 “bonus” convictions in 2005 and that equals 15 convictions. Even though an idiot, he likely still got away with 100’s of additional criminal acts for which he was not caught / convicted.
    Canada needs a 3-strike law for guys like this. The revolving door doesn’t work.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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