Woman spared jail after ‘brazen’ theft from pediatric ward

Saskatchewan Provincial Court in Prince Albert. Herald File Photo

A woman will serve her sentence in the community after pleading guilty to stealing a television from the pediatric ward of a Saskatoon hospital.

Kendra Tasha Desjarlais, 26, was facing charges for a string of thefts spanning about three years in Prince Albert, Sturgeon Lake and Saskatoon.

Crown prosecutor Gail Douglas said Desjarlais had been avoiding court for years before she finally appeared, via video, in Prince Albert’s provincial courthouse on Thursday.

Douglas said Desjarlais and her ex-boyfriend committed a “brazen” crime when they snuck a 40-inch television out of a waiting room in Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital.

The television went missing from the pedriatric unit in April 2016. Surveillance footage showed a man and a woman pushing a stroller into the waiting room. When they exited, the stroller was covered with a blanket draped over a “flat, square” object.

“It’s not a baby,” Douglas said.

Desjarlais was investigated as a person of interest. She had registered at the hospital that day to have her child assessed, Douglas said. On Thursday, she pleaded guilty to her role in the theft as part of a bargain with the Crown.

Desjarlais also pleaded guilty to shoplifting from Giant Tiger, Walmart, Ardene and a gas bar in Sturgeon Lake. She stole a large quantity of produce and meat, as well as a pair of shoes.

Her lawyer, Terra Lennox-Zepp, said that her client was driven to steal by poverty and the need to feed her children.

“She indicates that she did not have enough food to eat at home,” she said. “No one was helping their family after their house was lost to fire.”

Lennox-Zepp argued that Desjarlais only participated in the television theft because she was trapped in an abusive relationship.

“She was physically abused by her ex-boyfriend. He hit her a lot,” she said. “She felt controlled by him and she believes that if she had not stolen the television he would have gotten mad.”

The two lawyers had agreed on a joint position for a six-month conditional sentence order.
Judge Shiefner agreed that the television theft indeed showed “brazenness.” But he said that the sentence could be safely served in the community.

According to the order, Desjarlais will have to report regularly, abide by a curfew and seek counselling. She is also barred from shopping at Giant Tiger, Walmart or Ardene.