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Four years for 'prolific offender'

Stephanie Deschene, 20, was sentenced this week to four years in jail. -
Stephanie Deschene, 20, was sentenced this week to four years in jail.
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A woman arrested last spring following a four-month crime spree has been sentenced to four years in jail.

Twenty-year-old Stephanie Rene Deschene – identified by police earlier this year as one of their top 10 most wanted car thieves – learned her penalty this week in Surrey Provincial Court.

Deschene was arrested  in a stolen vehicle May 24 by members of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT).

She later pleaded guilty to 13 charges in connection with offences in Surrey, Langley, Kelowna, Merritt, Kamloops, Pritchard and Sicamous between January and May of this year: six counts of break-and-enter, two counts of theft, two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, robbery, possession of stolen property and driving while disqualified.

In announcing the sentence Thursday, IMPACT spokesman Sgt. Gord Elias noted that while Deschene's crimes mostly involved stealing vehicles and breaking into residences, "her attempt to avoid apprehension proved to be much more dangerous to both the public and the police."

Elias cited an incident in Merritt in which Deschene almost ran over an RCMP officer with a stolen car when the officer responded to a report of a residential break-in. In Sicamous, Deschene hit and ran over the leg of a man who was trying to stop her from stealing his pickup truck, Elias said.

"Four years in a federal institution for this prolific offender is a significant sentence and should mean that our homes and vehicles will be somewhat safer for some time to come," Elias said.

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