A Bracebridge man who swindled seniors and was later arrested as part of the OPP’s Project Axle had to answer for his crimes this week.
On Tuesday, Wesley Thompson, 51, pleaded guilty to his part in the two separate incidents and was sentenced to 10 months of house arrest and 12 months probation.
Court heard that in April 2020, a local senior couple was having their financial accounts checked when some unexplained withdrawal from their credit card turned up.
They suspected a handyman who had been working for the couple was the culprit and ultimately determined he had lifted the credit card of the female victim from her purse. Thomspson wracked up $8,649 in withdrawals from local ATMS, which police determined after checking video surveillance of the ATMs and recognizing the Thompson, court heard.
Then in June of 2002, Thompson was arrested again in an unrelated incident as part of the OPP”s Project Axle investigation.
That investigation led to five arrests in Penetanguishene, Tiny, Bracebridge and North York. It spanned multiple months involving over 16 separate thefts of various equipment across Muskoka, Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area.
During the investigation, officers recovered two skid steers, two float trailers, a Dodge 3500 pick-up truck, a zodiac with trailer and motor, as well as multiple universal keys for heavy equipment, off road vehicles, and personal watercraft.
There was some dispute between the crown and defense about restitution, as the defense argued that an arm injury would limit Thompson’s ability to pay back restitution. As such, the defense argued that he shouldn’t be expected to pay back any more than $100 per month.
The judge agreed to $100 a month in restitution and said Thompson wouldn’t have to start paying until May of 2022.
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