Arguably one of Penticton’s most infamous repeat thieves was sentenced for two thefts and one act of mischief on Thursday morning, and handed a jail sentence minus his time already served in prison.
Levi Kamps, 25, appeared by video from prison, pleading guilty to multiple charges related to incidents in the Summer of 2022.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys told the court the details of the incidents, starting with theft from the Real Canadian Wholesale Club on Aug. 17.
An employee called the RCMP after Kamps had come into the bakery section and taken a cheesecake without paying. He was already banned from attending the store due to a previous incident.
Later that day, he was charged with breaching his bail order because he had attended the Wholesale Club when he wasn’t allowed.
Then on Aug. 1, Kamps was caught stealing merchandise from Staples.
Penticton RCMP received a call from the store supervisor. Kamps had been reported to have stolen multiple pairs of headphones before departing the store on foot.
Within 20 minutes, he was located by a police officer walking through the Wholesale Club parking lot and confronted him. Kamps was informed he was under arrest and he was placed into custody without incident.
He did not have the stolen property with him anymore and the headphones were not recovered.
On Sep. 20, Kamps committed mischief by interfering with the use of the property at the Sun Valley Motel.
In the morning, RCMP received a call from the security guard at the motel.
Provincial Court Judge Shannon Keyes asked Kamps Thursday to confirm that he took “a dump in the yard at the Sun Valley Motel," which he did.
Kamps was located a short distance away and was arrested.
Vandersluys said in his arguments that while ordinarily members of the public don't know the names of individuals that are prolific offenders, Kamps is well known.
“He's recognized by people almost instantly just because of the frequency with which he is seen in instances like this,” he added.
“Most of these types of incidents are relatively low-level thefts…But it is something that has effectively made Mr. Kamps a nuisance and has only fuelled the more recent incidents that we've seen where individuals have banded together to effectively consider becoming vigilantes, and it's concerning.”
Vandersluys was referencing the local Penticton Group, Clean Streets Penticton, which was started after concerns over crime reached a boiling point last July.
The group has described itself as a gathering of like-minded individuals, trying to help residents feel safe. While they have often emphasized that vigilantism is not the goal, their actions have since caught the attention of local police and now the courts.
“It's concerning to everybody in the community that Mr. Kamps is behaving this way and the result that happens is that members of the community potentially start taking things into their own hands, and we want to avoid both,” Vandersluys said.
He pointed out that Kamps is addicted to heroin and has yet to seek treatment.
“At the time of these offences, he was on probation and he has been offered assistance. But it seems at this point, really the only thing that can be done is to give the community a break from Mr. Kamps and to separate him from society for a period of time.”
Vandersluys said that Kamps is detained for the foreseeable future, remaining in custody pending the resolution of multiple other matters he has before the courts that will be heading to trial.
“Kamps is a troubling case to deal with, as [Crown counsel] has pointed out. He’s undoubtedly a prolific offender. He’s not one of those individuals who seems to present a danger, in that he’s not committing crimes of violence,” defence counsel James Pennington said.
“I agree he’s become a nuisance, but we can't keep him in jail forever.”
When asked by Judge Keyes if he has anything to say before sentencing, Kamps said he has decided to better himself.
“I've stopped my criminal behaviour. I don't steal anything. I don't do anything like that anymore because I want to start doing the right thing.”
Keyes agreed with the sentences that had been proposed by the Crown, sentencing him to 134 days in jail. With credit for time served, Kamps has already served 176 days.
“The concern essentially is that the community needs a break from Mr. Kamps and from people like him that do the same kinds of things because otherwise, the public will lose faith that the administration of justice can actually protect their properties and protect them from theft,” Keyes said.
Kamps was also put under a probation order for 12 months.
“Mr. Kamps I sure hope you're able to speak to that idea that you have about not stealing from people anymore. It's going to be really important for you to deal with your issue right. While you were stealing, you have got to deal with that addiction thing.”
Kamps will appear again for trial on other matters at a later date.