Special to the Langley Advance
A Langley woman who was linked to 10,000 pieces of stolen mail recovered from an apartment complex earlier this year has been given a conditional sentence.
Sarah Lea-Anne Arnet, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft and was sentenced Tuesday in provincial court in Surrey.
In February, a resident of a Langley apartment complex called police when they found about 4,000 pieces of stolen mail in their storage locker.
Police investigated and some of the mail was examined by Lower Mainland Forensic Identification Services, which found forensic evidence linking the mail to Arnet.
On March 5, Langley RCMP officers executed a search warrant on Arnet’s apartment, which was in the same complex where the mail was discovered in February.
Police found more stolen mail – about 6,000 pieces – organized in numerous boxes and file folders.
The mail belonged to people from all over B.C. Officers also seized identification cards, credit cards, computers, cellphones and data-storage devices.
Arnet was arrested that day and remained in custody until she was granted bail on April 15.
A condition of her release was that she attend treatment to deal with her addiction to cocaine.
She completed a 30-day program for women and from there went to the Top of the World Ranch Treatment Centre in the Kootenays for another two months of residential treatment. After completing the program there, she moved to Kamloops to live with her parents.
According to submissions made in court, Arnet has not used drugs or alcohol since her arrest. She is volunteering at a homeless shelter, attending support meetings and trying to upgrade her skills so she can get a job.
Arnet has previous convictions related to mail theft – and the charge to which she pleaded guilty on Tuesday is also related to an incident that took place in July 2014 in Kamloops – but her lawyer said her offending is solely tied to her addiction.
Jeffrey Ray said his client is now committed to her physical, mental and emotional health.
“It appears by all accounts to be a remarkable transition,” said Ray.
Arnet told the court that the rehabilitation programs were “an amazing opportunity” and thanked the court for giving her that opportunity.
“I’m heavily involved in my recovery,” she said.
“Today I have a life worth living and an opportunity to live it.”
The conditional sentence – a jail sentence served in the community – includes an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the first 30 days.
During the entire sentence, Arnet must abstain from drugs and alcohol and is not allowed to have any mail, identification, cheques, debit or credit cards in her possession that are not in her name.
– Jennifer Saltman is a reporter with the Vancouver Province
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