PICTOU – A 23-year-old Pictou County man who beat and robbed a senior at a bank machine this past fall has been sentenced to a lengthy stint in federal prison.
Ronald William Jamieson entered guilty pleas Monday to two counts of robbery, two counts of uttering threats, theft, and breach of an undertaking. He sat quietly in Pictou provincial court as Judge Del Atwood agreed that a five-year joint recommended sentence was an appropriate amount of time to serve for the crimes he committed, including the robbery of a 72-year-old man at an ATM machine in October.
Crown attorney Jody McNeill told Atwood that the victim had just finished walking the Samson Trail around 6:30 a.m on Oct. 18 when he stopped by the ATM at the Royal Bank in downtown New Glasgow.
He had taken $200 out of one machine, but it had shut down after the transaction so he took an additional $100 out of the second machine, both of which were located in the lobby of the bank.
When he turned to leave, he still had his wallet in his hand and noticed a man standing inside the doors of the bank.
"He was turning to walk out and the male person grabbed his wallet from his hands," he said. "He tried to hang on to it, but the male person shoved him into the glass partition and punched him in the face, which knocked him to the ground."
The victim called the police and while officers were standing outside the bank, they noticed Jamieson walking up to the pay phone across from the bank. He picked up the phone's receiver, but didn't put any money in to make a call and then walked away from the area.
When officers asked Jamieson what he was doing in the area he replied that he was buying cigarettes at a local convenience store and he saw a man running from the bank machine. The officers left the scene, but a few hours later that same day, they identified Jamieson as the ATM robber from video footage at the bank.
Upon his arrest, Jamieson said he didn't know anything about the robbery and asked police to show him the footage, but McNeill said he told police later on he was remorseful for the crime.
"I just went around the corner and sat there," he told police. "I felt like shit. Why would I take my anger out on a guy like that? I just wanted to apologize."
The male victim, who attended many of Jamieson's court appearances, was the only person to submit a victim impact statement, which outlined the emotional and physical pain he suffered from the experience.
He told the court his face suffered swelling from the assault and he needs extensive dental work. His statement also said he is nervous to go out of his home now and is fearful of strangers.
"There has been an alarming increase in the past year in the county in the number of robbery offences with violence, particularly by post-adolescent males who use violence or weapons to commit such offences," said Atwood.
He added the robbery at the ATM was particularly alarming, but crimes against seniors are becoming more common.
"These are crimes of violence against people who have contributed to society for years."
The ATM robbery ended an explosive crime spree for Jamieson that began in July when he was charged with uttering threats.
McNeill said Jamieson was first arrested on July 9 for threatening a man who was going to fix a home Jamieson damaged.
McNeill said the victim had told the homeowner she should call the police over the damage and Jamieson, who overheard the conversation, told the man that if he called the police, he would kill him.
"As he was walking towards (the victim) he was saying, 'I will kill you.'"
Jamieson was arrested on the threats charge and released on a court undertaking that included conditions such as being of good behaviour and staying away from alcohol.
On Aug. 18, police were waved down by a man in New Glasgow who told them he was just robbed by three men. The victim told police he met the men outside the Roseland Cabaret and followed them from the downtown area after they told him they knew where to get some "blow," otherwise know as cocaine.
By the time the men reached the field near the former New Glasgow High School, he was tripped by one of the men and clotheslined by Jamieson. He was was held down by Jamieson and another man while they took $175 in cash, his identification and a lighter.
"They told him to stay on the ground until they left and to forget his face," said McNeill.
The victim returned to Archimedes Street after the incident and noticed the three men standing near him so he pointed the officers in their direction. They were taken into police custody and one of the men said that Jamieson "cleaned out the guy's pockets." Police also noticed that Jamieson was drinking alcohol that evening which led to the breach of the undertaking.
On Oct. 16, a resident of New Glasgow looked out and noticed that a man was stealing a bicycle from their backyard. The homeowner chased the man up the street and when he stopped him, the man yelled at him saying "do you want me to punch you in the (f*****) head."
The bike owner gave a description of the man to police and identified him as wearing a black jacket with the Corvette logo in on the back which was similar to a jacket Jamieson had worn in the past. The bicycle was valued at $200 and never recovered.
Two days later, Jamieson was arrested for the robbery at the ATM and has been in custody ever since.
While in custody waiting to enter a plea on the robbery, Jamieson was also charged in connection with theft from a local swimming pool business between Aug. 20 and 26.
McNeill said the business owner reported cash, a computer laptop and cheques stolen from the store during this time and police received a confidential tip not long after that Jamieson was cashing cheques from the store's account. Bank machine footage confirmed that Jamieson made eight separate visits to a local bank at this time to cashed cheques which totalled $2,700.
Defence lawyer Doug Lloy said his client didn't have much of a criminal record before these incidents and "exploded on scene with very little windup," however, he said Jamieson knew that he was looking at an extensive jail sentence.
"The charges before the court are extremely serious and alarming," he said. "My client realizes this and what faces him."
Lloy said his client would like to be credited for the 52 days he has already spent in remand, but he acknowledged his client did commit the crimes while out on a court order so it was unlikely the request would be granted.
Atwood sentenced Jamieson to four years for the ATM robbery and one year consecutive for the robbery against the man in the field. Additional sentences for the threats and breach charges will run concurrent to the five-year sentence.