The assault on a convenience store clerk earned a man an 18-month suspended sentence on Monday afternoon.
Matthew Andert pleaded guilty to assault and mischief to property in the Dec. 28 incident against a worker, Crown Attorney Jonathan Mays described as particularly vulnerable.
On the day in question, police received a report of a panic alarm at 7-Eleven on 10th Street, he said.
Employees said there was a man “running” into the store and they needed police assistance.
Police arrived minutes later, Mays said, and spoke to an employee, who knew Andert. At the time, he was on condition not to go to the store.
The employee told police Andert came to get food, but they asked him to leave, Mays said. The accused refused to leave and grabbed the 7-Eleven worker by the collar and pushed him away, causing him to fall.
“He then tore up the food display … he took a piece of food, but then he placed $2 on the counter,” Mays told the court.
Police reviewed store surveillance and confirmed Andert on video. They later arrested him without incident.
“Employees undoubtedly feared for their safety,” he said.
“These people are vulnerable, they are at the store, they cannot leave, they have no choice but to deal with Mr. Andert.”
Although the assault was not on the high end of the scale and there was no punching or kicking, Mays recommended a 60-day jail sentence for the crime.
Defense attorney Jennifer Janssens said Andert struggled with “significant mental health and homelessness issues. Despite this, he is doing his best to manage and has completed the program in the community.
Despite the 7-Eleven incident, Andert has not come into contact with the system since and wants to address the underlying issues involving him.
Based on Andert’s particular circumstances, Janssens recommended a community service sentence and fines. She said sending him to prison would undermine the progress he has made over the past few months and that he can be an active member of society.
Addressing the court, Andert said he had no intention of returning to 7-Eleven and believed he had a bad relationship with the workers there.
Judge Donovan Dvorak sentenced him to an 18-month suspended sentence with supervised probation. It also sentenced him to 40 hours of community service to be performed next year and banned him from going to 7-Eleven on 10th Street.