CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A 36-year-old man who stole more than 100 pairs of underwear from P.E.I. women and kept them in re-sealable plastic bags that were labelled with the victims’ names says he is ashamed of his actions.
Mikael John DesJardins appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown Wednesday where he was sentenced to two years less a day in jail after he pleaded guilty to several charges that included break and enter and possessing stolen underwear.
With his voice cracking as he addressed the court before hearing his sentence, DesJardins said he was sorry for all the victims and his family that he impacted.
“I’m ashamed of what I did,” he said.
DesJardins, who changed his name from Michael John Kaye after he was convicted in Halifax of possessing child pornography and two counts of possessing stolen women’s underwear, moved to P.E.I. in 2011.
Prior to hearing the sentence, Crown attorney Valerie Moore read the facts of the case, including what she called the “cataloguing” of the underwear he stole.
DesJardins used the trust he developed with the victims to gain access to their homes or clothing through a series of elaborate lies.
In one woman’s case, she became friends with DesJardins, who lied to her about having been married and falsely claimed he owned a farm.
She was living with her parents at the time, and they trusted DesJardins enough to give him a key on one occasion to watch their home while they were away.
Moore said it was believed he made a copy of the key before returning the original and that he later used it to enter the home to steal items that included sex toys.
In some cases, under the guise of a non-existent wife, DesJardins exchanged text messages with victims, eventually arranging to do their laundry.
“They were young. They were naïve. He was a friend. He was very skilled at manipulating them.”
-Crown attorney Valerie Moore
One of the victims gave DesJardins a key to her home, thinking his wife would be the one using it to pick up laundry.
The victims, who thought DesJardins’s wife was doing their laundry, started to notice underwear missing and clothing mixed in that didn’t belong to them.
Posing as his non-existent wife, DesJardins also convinced the boyfriend of one victim to send an intimate video of himself.
DesJardins later showed the victim the video after claiming to have proof her boyfriend had been sending pictures to his wife and had stolen her underwear.
At one point, DesJardins’s employer found several envelopes with women’s names on them that he left in a work truck.
Inside the envelopes were six pairs of women’s underwear.
The police searched DesJardins’s apartment in January where they found a laptop, underwear and other clothing that belonged to one victim.
When they searched a storage unit DesJardins used, the police found several sex toys and about 150 pairs of women’s underwear in re-sealable plastic bags, some of which had names written on them.
During her submissions, Moore told the court DesJardins had a tremendous impact on his victims, including one who has been dealing with anxiety and another who said it affected her ability to trust people.
“They were young. They were naïve. He was a friend. He was very skilled at manipulating them,” Moore said.
During the proceedings, the court heard DesJardins had a fetish for women’s underwear.
When he spoke, DesJardins said he was guilty of everything that was brought before the court.
“I do have an addiction and I realize that,” he said.
He also told the court he plans to leave P.E.I. and live in a Mennonite community in the Annapolis Valley after his release from jail.
Douglas said he accepted DesJardins’s “sincere expression of hope” to deal with his issues and change.
In following a joint sentencing recommendation of two years less a day, Douglas gave DesJardins credit of seven months for time already spent in custody.
DesJardins will be on probation for three years after his arrest, which included a condition that he not have any contact with the victims.
He must also provide a DNA sample for the national databank.