Would-be thief betrayed by the elements

·2 min read

A Bothwell woman has plead guilty to a pair of break and enters in Dawn-Euphemia that went awry.

Heidi DeHoog, 40, appeared in Sarnia Court last week to confess her crimes. Her targets were abandoned properties, her timeframe was the dead of night. But on both occasions factors beyond DeHoog’s control led to her downfall.

The first incident was Feb. 2 this year at a farmhouse long absent of any life. OPP officers were patrolling Cairo Road at 1:30 am when they came across a parked car. A check of the license plate found it didn’t match the VIN number.

Investigating further police found a pair of tracks, easily detectable in the fresh snow, that led past a gate down a long laneway to the deserted property. Arriving at the backdoor there was noise and conversation detected from upstairs.

An order was given to come out and eventually DeHoog obliged, albeit “reluctantly,” says Crown Attorney Meaghan Jones during a reading of the facts. She told officers there was another man inside and he soon followed. Both were arrested for break and enter.

Antiques were the target and several were found on the pair. Old bottles, cans and even a handwritten letter were among the items recovered.

A search of the vehicle found drug paraphernalia and trace amounts of methamphetamine along with break and enter tools including a night vision scope. No further charges were laid against DeHoog over these items though.

DeHoog was released on bail conditions that she must live at a house on West Bothwell Road and observe a curfew. But just two months later she was back to her late night capers.

In the early hours of April 22 police were called to check a suspicious vehicle on Bentpath Line. They arrived to find it empty, but the engine block was still warm.

The search for the driver began at the nearby property. The terrain consisted of a building with smashed windows and numerous tractor trailers scattered throughout the grounds. Police heard someone running among the trailers and through the building, but in the darkness could not get a fix.

Heightened senses were needed. So the OPP Canine Unit was called in. Just before 5 am the responding dog officer managed to track her down inside the building and bring the drawn out search to a close.

The time of her capture meant DeHoog was in obvious breach of her 10 pm to 6 am curfew.

It’s now up to Justice Deborah Austin to determine what DeHoog’s punishment will be. The case was adjourned to Sept. 16 so a pre-sentence report could be prepared to aid her decision.

“We would find it very helpful to understand a bit more about how Ms. DeHoog came to be in this place,” says Jones.

Potential sentences could range from a suspended sentence to a conditional discharge.

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent

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