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Jail time for man who couldn't stop stealing booze from Second Line LCBO

38-year-old former Algoma Steel employee was arrested 25 times last year for various crimes, including nearly two dozen thefts from west-end liquor store
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.

Kiel Martin racked up so many charges in 2023 he easily could have been facing a five-year stretch in a federal penitentiary.

The 38-year-old appeared Thursday in a Sault Ste. Marie courtroom, where the Crown noted there were 25 informations outlining charges for offences he allegedly committed last year. 

He pleaded guilty to eight charges stemming from incidents that occurred between January and August of last year.

The offences included robbery, theft, resisting police and breaching court orders.

Ontario Court Justice Andrew Buttazzoni heard the accused approached an employee at a Wellington Street West convenience store at 1:45 a.m. on Feb. 20, 2023.

He ordered the cashier at the Circle K to "open up the till and give me everything."

When the clerk didn't comply, Martin repeated his order, motioning with his right hand and threatening "otherwise I'll stab you," prosecutor Blair Hagan told the court.

The cashier handed over $50.

A security camera captured the crime on video, and when Martin was arrested at a later date he was wearing the same clothing.

On Feb. 24, he stole five bottles of booze from the Second Line West LCBO outlet.

City police were called to the store that afternoon after the accused had attempted to leave without paying.

An off-duty Ontario Provincial Police officer arrested him. Martin tried to pull away, repeatedly telling the cop to "f–k off."

The court heard a city police investigation followed up on other theft allegations involving Martin that occurred at the store between Jan. 16 and Aug. 25.

During that time, he made off with liquor on approximately 20 occasions — sometimes twice in one day.

On one of those visits on Aug. 24, he stole four bottles of Smirnoff vodka, valued at $250.

Martin was on a release order that prohibited him from going to the store when he committed his lengthy list of liquor larceny.

The Crown and defence jointly called for 18 months jail followed by two years probation.

Hagan described the proposed sentence as a "very favourable resolution position" for the accused because it settles all of his outstanding matters.

There were so many charge sheets before the court that the totality of the sentence could have been more than five years — so Martin "certainly has benefited." 

Dealing with so many allegations takes a toll on the community, the police and justice system, and "calls for a significant custodial sentence."

Martin, who has a criminal record with a number of convictions for violence, has "a substantial drinking problem," she told Buttazzoni, and must stay away from the LCBO.

His lawyer Adrienne Hagan said her client was in a "downward spiral in his life" at the time of the offences.

The former Algoma Steel employee indicated he doesn't have an alcohol problem, and told her he was stealing products from the liquor store to sell so he could buy food, the defence said.

Buttazzoni told the accused the proposed sentence is at the low end of the range. 

"You are fortunate I'm agreeing to this joint position."

For robbery, "I'm thinking upper reformatory to entry level penitentiary — two years less a day to three years."

The judge noted Martin's pleas had resolved everything and if there had been trials it would have taken considerable court resources at a time when there are backlogs in the system.

He questioned the accused's assertion that he doesn't have an alcohol problem, finding it difficult to believe Martin had just randomly targeted the LCBO.

"I think you may be in denial," Buttazzoni told him.

If there is a problem and "you don't deal with it you will be back in the system."

Buttazzoni imposed 18 months jail for the robbery and concurrent sentences of varying lengths for the other offences.

With the credit he received for his pre-sentence custody, Martin faced a further 215 days behind bars (as of Thursday).

During his two-year probation he is banned from going to every LCBO store in Sault Ste. Marie.

He must also stay from the Wellington Street West Circle K where the robbery occurred.

As well, Buttazzoni imposed a 10-year weapons prohibition and ordered Martin to provide a DNA sample for the national database.

At the request of the Crown, all of the remaining charges were withdrawn.

About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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