‘Reckless, relentless’ break-ins get eight-year sentence

Abbotsford's Darwin Dorozan robbed a series of South Surrey homes, including two in which residents were home at the time.

A series of thoroughly-planned home break-ins – most in South Surrey – have netted a 38-year-old Abbotsford man more than seven years in jail.

Darwin Duane Dorozan was sentenced Tuesday in Surrey Provincial Court to multiple concurrent and consecutive terms totalling eight years, which was reduced by 10 months to reflect the time he has already spent behind bars.

Dorozan pleaded guilty in May to 12 counts of break-and-enter in connection with incidents between April and August of 2011 and one in August of 2010, just prior to a nine-month sentence he served as the result of a 2007 robbery.

Dorozan had said he committed the robberies to feed a $600-a-day heroin habit.

In one incident, he had admitted to bear spraying a resident who struggled with him during a robbery attempt, while in another he had continued to ransack bedrooms while a terrified 19-year-old woman, who had locked herself in a bathroom, telephoned police.

In a pre-sentencing summary of the crimes, Judge Michael Hicks recounted how Dorozan was snared because he left behind knapsacks containing robbery tools and identifying materials, including a methadone prescription in his name, as well as lists of names, addresses and telephone numbers corresponding to robbery victims.

RCMP checks of cellphone records had shown Dorozan, who specialized in stealing jewellery, money and electronics, had called his victims’ residences on the dates of the robberies to find out whether they were home.

On Aug. 15, a police surveillance team watched Dorozan and his younger brother, Dane, remove electronics from a home in the 16400-block of 28 Avenue. Both were arrested, and Dorozan’s brother is due to be sentenced on Sept. 21.

The jail term is in line with the eight years prosecutor Mike Fortino had sought, rather than the five years defence lawyer Gordon Bowen had asked for.

In handing down sentencing, Hicks said he had taken into account that Dorozan had completed a drug-rehabilitation program in jail and had been working in the prison tailor shop.

He also noted that Dorozan’s guilty plea, in which he accepted responsibility as the principal perpetrator of the crimes, had saved the victims the further distress of a trial.

But Hicks said he also had to consider Dorozan’s “relentless and organized” campaign of crime and the impacts upon each victim as well as the community at large.

“These are serious offences with a significant impact to the victims,” said Hicks, who read excerpts from victims’ statements that underlined that their – and, in a number of cases, their children’s – sense of “safety and security” had been violated.

He also took into account that Dorozan’s record of 23 prior convictions since 1993, including one for robbery with a firearm.

“Sentences which were, arguably, modest did not deter Mr. Dorozan,” he said, adding they did not support a step-up policy of incremental punishment.

Hicks noted that break-ins in which Dorozan had encountered residents qualified as “home invasions” – which carry a mandatory sentence of three years each – and cited the “aggravating” circumstances of the incidents in which Dorozan had bear-sprayed the man and had continued robbing the home in which the young woman was still present.

Hicks said that while Dorozan had evidently sought to avoid confrontations with residents, he had become “reckless” of the possibility they might be at home.

Dorozan, dressed in a red fleece shirt, sat relatively impassively in the courtroom while Hicks detailed his crimes, but bit his lip and blinked repeatedly when Hicks read from victims’ statements.

As part of his sentence, he will have a lifetime firearms prohibition and will have to submit his DNA to a national record bank.

In a press release, RCMP Sgt. Drew Grainger said the apprehension of Dorozan and his brother “sends a strong message that this type of criminal element is not welcome in our community.

“This sentencing,” he added, “will hopefully bring some relief to those in our community who have been victimized.”

Outside court, Bowen declined to comment after his client’s sentence was delivered.

“The sentencing speaks for itself,” he said.