The former firearms manager at Island Outfitters has been sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to seven charges involving firearms and theft from his employer.
Lucky Jhagra, 41, appeared in Victoria provincial on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to stealing firearms, stealing restricted firearms, possession of firearms obtained by crime, possession of restricted firearms obtained by crime, unsafe storage of firearms, selling stolen firearms and selling stolen restricted firearms.
Judge Sue Wishart accepted a joint submission by prosecutor Trevor Shaw and defence lawyer Andrew Tam asking for the two-year sentence.
Wishart imposed a lifetime ban on Jhagra possessing firearms, crossbows, restricted weapons, ammunition and explosive substances.
She also ordered Jhagra to pay restitution of about $13,000 to people who bought the stolen firearms.
An agreed statement of facts read into the court record shows Jhagra was hired by Island Outfitters in 2008 and started stealing guns in 2009.
He realized that because of a flaw in computer controls, guns ordered by the store could be decreased in the business inventory without being paid for.
He was able to order and transfer guns to himself without paying for them.
His thefts were discovered during a general audit in February 2012. By the time he was caught, Jhagra had stolen 148 guns, including 86 firearms and 62 restricted firearms. According to the statement of facts, these were worth $215,000 wholesale, with a resale value of about $272,000.
Jhagra sold 13 of the stolen guns in accordance with the Firearms Act. The rest were seized by police when they searched his suite in the basement of his parents’ home, the statement says. Forty-five of the guns were stored in an unsafe manner.
Photos shown to the court show four restricted firearms in Jhagra’s bedroom in unsecured cases on an open shelf in his closet.
A restricted Bushmaster rifle was found leaning against the wall behind his living room door, without any case or trigger lock. A handgun was found on the floor next to the kitchen table. A shotgun was behind a chair in the hallway, leaning against the wall. In total, police seized about 5,000 pistol rounds, 6,700 rifle rounds and 3,400 shotgun rounds, the statement says.
During the sentencing hearing, Shaw asked a Saanich police officer to hold up the Bushmaster rifle, a large-calibre handgun and an assault rifle with magazines to demonstrate the threat to public safety if the military-style weapons had fallen into the wrong hands.
Island Outfitter owners Darren Wright and Ward Bond filed victim impact statements that show Jhagra’s crimes have had a significant impact on the small business and left them feeling unable to trust, the prosecutor said.
Tam said his client has no criminal history, offers no excuse for what he has done and is deeply remorseful and regretful. Jhagra’s interest in firearms became obsessive, then pathological, and grew into an addiction that overcame his sense of right or wrong, Tam said.
Since his arrest, Jhagra has lost his job and the respect of his friends.
“Everything he cared about has been taken from him,” Tam said.
Letters of support filed with the court show Jhagra is bright, popular and resilient. He has already started counselling and is committed to change, Tam said.
Wishart accepted that Jhagra was truly remorseful.
“This time in your life does not have to define you,” she told him. “After your sentence, you can return to being defined by all the good qualities you possess.”
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