A 38-year-old Abbotsford man who broke into and stole from 11 South Surrey homes did so to feed what had become a $600-a-day heroin habit, Judge Michael Hicks heard Friday.
But Darwin Duane Dorozan doesn’t want sympathy for the path that led to the “severe drug addiction” that fueled his actions, defence lawyer Gordon Bowen said during his client’s sentencing hearing in Surrey Provincial Court.
“He’s not here trying to garner your honour’s sympathy for a rough childhood. He’s taking full responsibility,” Bowen said. “It may seem that he’s just a heartless drug addict, but he’s not.”
Dorozan pleaded guilty earlier this month – three days before he was scheduled to go to trial – to 12 counts of break-and-enter, in connection with incidents committed between April and August last year, and one in August of 2010. One of the charges stems from a break-in in Langley; another “amounts to a home invasion,” prosecutor Mike Fortino noted.
Dorozan was originally charged with 21 counts of break-and-enter, one count of possession of stolen property and one count of assault with a weapon.
He was arrested last August with his younger brother, Dane, after police conducting surveillance on the pair observed the removal of numerous electronics from a home in the 16400-block of 28 Avenue.
The suspects fled the area in a van, and officers who followed reported seeing some of the electronics being thrown from the vehicle as it sped along 188 Street, shortly before it was pulled over near 184 Street and 20 Avenue.
Damage to the home and electronics targeted that day totalled $20,000, Hicks heard.
In suggesting Hicks sentence Dorozan to eight years in custody, Fortino made special note of the home invasion, as well as of another break-in that occurred while a 19-year-old woman was home alone.
The first, in 2010, occurred in the 14700-block of 59 Avenue. Fortino told Hicks how a resident who had been home exercising discovered Dorozan in his home when he went to investigate a noise. Dorozan was running down the stairs with a black backpack and, when confronted, sprayed the homeowner about five times with bear or pepper spray, Fortino said.
A struggle ensued, and Dorozan – whose hoodie and backpack were pulled off in the scuffle – fled.
The second incident of note occurred June 14, 2011, at a home in the 2000-block of 129B Street. Police were alerted to the break-in by a 911 call from the 19-year-old, who reported having locked herself in an upper-level bathroom after realizing an intruder was inside. She heard the intruder swear as the sound of sirens approaching became audible, Fortino said.
Police who attended observed a man run from the area. While no suspect was located, a backpack with numerous items including “bundles of papers with hundreds of addresses and associated phone numbers” was recovered.
Many on the list were homes targeted by Dorozan, Fortino said. Another document in the backpack that noted a cellphone number is how police linked the break-ins to Dorozan, he added.
Investigation determined – and Dorozan admitted – that he would call the targeted homes just prior to the break-ins being carried out, to check if anyone was home.
Other homes targeted were in the 2300-block of Christopherson Road, the 17400-block of 29 Avenue, the 13900-block of 20 Avenue, the 15600-block of 39A Avenue, the 3200-block of Canterbury Drive, the 21900-block of 44 Avenue, the 2700-block of 165 Street, the 13400-block of 17 Avenue and the 2500-block of Cedar Drive.
Dorozan told police that he compiled the address list, and was, in all of the incidents to which he has pleaded guilty, the “principle perpetrator.”
His brother, Dane, was scheduled for sentencing Sept. 21, in connection with the Aug. 15 break-in.
Friday, Fortino urged the judge not to give much weight to the concept of rehabilitation in determining a fit sentence for Dorozan, explaining that his history shows rehabilitation is unlikely: the latest break-in “enterprise” began “almost immediately” after he was released from prison after serving 2½ years for similar offences.
As well, being almost caught June 14, 2011, did not deter Dorozan, Fortino said.
“Mr. Dorozan has a flagrant disregard for the law and the community safety and security.”
Bowen asked Hicks to consider a sentence in the range of five years for his client. He cited mitigating factors including that Dorozan’s guilty pleas averted a lengthy trial and further victimization of those impacted by Dorozan’s actions.
Bowen noted that Dorozan became a drug addict during his previous incarceration; did his best not to harm people during the latest break-ins; and that a lengthy jail term will only lessen his prospects for future education and employment.
“What we don’t want to see is that he becomes a completely lost cause,” Bowen said. “The more he’s in jail, the more he’s going to be reinforced as a criminal person.”
In addressing the court, Dorozan expressed remorse towards his victims and pledged to change his ways.
“I hope that some day they can forgive me for my actions,” he said.
“I’m 38 years old, I’ve done most of my life in jail and I’ve come to a crossroads in my life. I’ve chosen to better my life.”
Hicks is scheduled to impose a sentence on June 12.