Bad houseguests land woman long-term probation

·3 min read

A Plympton-Wyoming woman will be under strict probation rules for the next three years after getting caught up in the illegal activity of fellow household members.

Kim Brennan, 49, appeared by video in Sarnia court Jan. 12 to plead guilty to two counts of being in possession of stolen property. She received a conditional discharge with a three year probation term. If she obeys the terms, Brennan will avoid jail.

Brennan’s troubles began in May 2019 when numerous areas in southern Ontario – including Lambton, Sarnia, Chatham-Kent, London, and Strathroy-Caradoc – began to experience a series of thefts and mischief at local car washes. Surveillance footage showed two people consistently at these scenes, Brennan and another man.

In the early morning hours of May 10 Brennan and the man damaged two car washes in Forest before going to the Best’s car wash on Ontario St. in Grand Bend. The man took a vacuum worth $4,900 and busted a coin box with a pry bar.

A few days later suspects broke into the storage area of the Home Depot on Quinn Dr. in Sarnia and attached a trailer full of lumber to a U-Haul vehicle. The U-Haul took off with trailer, lumber and all. It was later spotted at a Douglas Line home, and when Lambton OPP arrived a man was offloading it into a garage.

The man ran inside the home and barricaded the door, but police recovered 116 pieces of lumber worth more than $5,000. OPP returned two days later with a warrant and arrested four occupants of the house, including Brennan. The vacuum was discovered during a search.

Brennan acknowledged she knew stolen property was being brought to her home, but wasn’t the main culprit behind the thefts. “Ms. Brennan is far less morally culpable than the others who are involved in this,” says her lawyer Ryan Fritze.

Those others were Brennan’s daughter and her friends, who were all living at Brennan’s house. Fritze says Brennan’s “always had difficulty with saying no to people, in particular her daughter.” Counselling sessions for healthy relationships were ordered as part of Brennan’s probation to help her avoid similar issues in the future.

“I’m working very hard at separating myself from that entire subculture… My goal is to get my life back on track,” says Brennan. “I had an excellent life up until I was 46 and then it seemed to derail. So I’m just working on getting it back there.”

Justice Krista Leszczynski says Brennan should have known better than to participate in illegal activity with her daughter’s friends, but agreed her role was limited. “There’s no indication that you were involved in the theft of those items,” says Leszczynski. “Your role was limited only to the possession of them. You came into that possession as a result of the people who were residing with you.”

Leszczynski accepted the joint position that will allow Brennan to avoid incarceration. Brennan’s other probation terms include bans from the Best’s car wash and Sarnia Home Depot, not to go near or communicate with anyone else involved in the incidents, counselling, and to obey a curfew.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent