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Sydney man sentenced to prison for theft

SYDNEY — A 43-year-old Sydney man was sentenced Thursday to a two-year federal prison term after pleading guilty to several charges, including some associated with an upscale housing development.

Hugh David Smith, 43, of Second Street, was sentenced on two counts of theft over $5,000 (plywood and an all-terrain vehicle), two counts of breaching court orders, and a single count of break and enter.

The offences occurred in 2012 and involve a Sydney based engine shop, an Edwardsville lumberyard and a Halifax motor sports store.

The court was told that 203 sheets of plywood were stolen from a Edwardsville lumberyard in July 2012. Police received information that Smith was selling the plywood for $15 per sheet. The other theft involved stealing a 2012 Polaris 500 ATV from a Halifax dealership. The break and enter related to a break-in at a Sydney engine shop during which five chainsaws were stolen.

Smith also pleaded guilty to theft (a hot tub), possession of stolen property over $5,000, and mischief by cutting a power wire to a property.

Those offences occurred Sept. 9 at the Louisbourg Resorts housing development, which has now been foreclosed on by the Royal Bank.

The sentencing hearing was told that police were patrolling the development when they came across three men using an ATV to check on the houses currently built.

Officers surprised the would-be thieves who were in the process of taking the hot tub from one of the homes. Smith and a co-accused, Robert Bennett, were apprehended while the third suspect was able to flee the scene. Bennett is scheduled to return to court in October.

Crown prosecutor Steve Melnick and defence lawyer David Iannetti offered a joint recommendation of two years, which was accepted by  Supreme Court Justice Simon MacDonald.

In addition to the sentence, MacDonald ordered that Smith submit a DNA sample to the national registry and comply with two restitution orders amounting to just over $6,000.

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