ONTARIO - A one-armed man who escaped with a gold chain despite being gang-tackled by three female employees at a downtown jewelry store will spend a year in jail.
“I want to apologize to the three workers,” Byron Cromarty said from the prisoner's box Wednesday. “I felt bad when I hurt that one (woman who received minor arm and leg injuries).
Cromarty, 23, who was facing charges of robbery and breach of probation, pleaded guilty to breach of probation and theft and assault, rather than robbery.
Justice Richard Humphrey gave Cromarty credit for his 26 days in custody and added another 11 months jail and a five-year weapons ban. He also ordered Cromarty to provide a genetic sample to the National DNA databank.
At the time of the theft, Cromarty was on an 18-month probation order issued in January.
“It's not the first time you have robbed someone,” Humphrey reminded Cromarty. “You have a problem with substance abuse. I think that's where you need to start. This is a very serious offence. It started out as a robbery..."
The court heard Cromarty entered Robert Brown Jewellers about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 31 and asked to see a 24-inch, 10-carat gold chain worth $650.95.
When shown the chain by an employee, Cromarty grabbed it and tried to leave.
The female employee, however, grabbed Cromarty's left arm and was then joined by two other female employees who tried to restrain him.
During the melee, however, Cromarty squirmed free and fled with the chain, leaving his shirt behind.
Cromarty was arrested a short time later, but the chain was not recovered.
Defence lawyer Robert Beckett told the court Wednesday that Cromarty only used force in attempting to escape and did not intend to assault anyone.
He said Cromarty had a difficult childhood, is struggling with alcohol addiction and lost his right arm while asleep on railway tracks after heavy drinking.