Chilliwack man who stole from volunteer firefighters sentenced

Popkum volunteers had nearly $12,000 of items stolen in summer 2016

The man who stole from volunteer Popkum firefighters who were out on a call in 2016 was sentenced in Chilliwack provincial court on Monday.

Lorne James Sims was handed a six month conditional sentence for possession/use of a stolen credit card and three months conditional sentence theft under $5,000. He also is on probation for six months after that.

Sims was found guilty in Chilliwack provincial court on Dec. 6, 2017 for the charges connected with an incident on Aug. 5, 2016.

Described at the time as a new low, even for thieves, the Popkum Fire Hall was actually struck twice in that summer of 2016.

On one call, volunteers responded to a 2 a.m. page for a crash on the highway involving two trucks. They raced to the hall as volunteer firefighters do. They jumped in the trucks and headed to the rescue.

Meanwhile, back at the hall, someone looted their vehicles and of wallets, cellphones, work tools and other personal belongings. They also stole pagers and radios belonging to the firehall.

Then, while the crew was out on an all-day call a few days later that closed the highway for hours, someone struck again.

In total, they lost about $12,000 worth of personal effects and equipment.

The crime struck a chord in the community, prompting Timothy Christian students to host a fundraiser where they raised more than $9,000 to help replace stolen items.

• READ MORE: Firewash fundraiser a huge success for Popkum firefighters

After the guilty verdict, Sims contacted The Progress to complain about the coverage and to say he cleaned his life up, “got off the dope” and doesn’t do crime anymore.

He also insisted if he had a jury trial it might have ended differently.

“Circumstantial evidence gave me the guilty verdict by a judge,” Sims wrote via email. “If this case was in front of a jury the results would be different I’m sure.”

• READ MORE: Popkum fire hall hit by thieves while on call


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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