Two people, including a man with a long criminal history, have been charged in relation to the break-in of an Abbotsford post office and the theft of mail and parcels. File photo

Two people, including a man with a long criminal history, have been charged in relation to the break-in of an Abbotsford post office and the theft of mail and parcels. File photo

Man charged with Abbotsford post-office break-in has long criminal history

Gary Patrick Richard was sentenced last year for dangerous driving in Keremeos

An Abbotsford man who was sentenced last year for a dangerous-driving incident that started in Keremeos, B.C. is one of two people now charged with the break-in of a local post office and the theft of mail and parcels.

Gary Patrick Richard, 38, and Aldea Maureen Ducharme, 25, have each been charged with break-and-enter and possession of a break-in instrument.

Richard has additional charges of mail theft and resisting a peace officer.

The Abbotsford Police Department previously reported that officers were alerted at about 5:45 a.m. on April 20 to a suspicious vehicle in the 5900 block of Mt. Lehman Road.

As they were driving to the area, another call came in about a possible break-in at the Canada Post office at 5885 Mt. Lehman Rd.

Officers who arrived in the area spotted a black Mercedes driving away and attempted to pull the vehicle over, but the driver sped way.

RELATED: Two arrested in Abbotsford after mail and parcels stolen from post office

A spike belt was deployed and the vehicle was found abandoned not far away. The driver had run away, but was apprehended with the assistance of a K9 unit.

A short time later, a second vehicle suspected of being involved in the incident was located, and that driver was also taken into custody.

Police said that one of the suspect vehicles contained stolen mail and parcels, which were returned to Canada Post.

Ducharme does not have any previous charges in B.C., according to the provincial court database.

But Richard has a long criminal history, including an incident in February 2018 in Keremeos in which he sped away from a police roadside checkpoint. Richard was arrested after he crashed through the entrance gate of an RV park.

A judge who sentenced him in June 2019 noted that he has a lengthy and unbroken criminal record with relevant periods of incarceration.

Richard’s criminal history, which dates back to when he was a youth, includes numerous prior convictions for offences such as breaching his probation and bail conditions, fraud under and over $5,000, dangerous operation of a vehicle, resisting a peace officer, driving while prohibited, assault with a weapon, possession of stolen property, theft and impersonating a peace officer.

In one case, according to court documents from 2005 when he was 23, Richard was convicted of fraud over $5,000 and personation after obtaining a $25,000 bank loan by passing himself off as another person.

The funds were never recovered, and he was sentenced to 10 months in jail. At that time, Richard already had 30 prior convictions, according to the documents.

RELATED: Keremeos RCMP link drugs to previous crime

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@VikkiHopes
vhopes@abbynews.com

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