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Two years for brazen Willowbrook robbery

Several suspects in a May 5, 2011 robbery of a jeweller at Willowbrook Shopping Centre were arrested just a short time later in Coquitlam. One of the men charged, Christopher Reinke, has been sentenced to two years in jail. - CTV News file photo
Several suspects in a May 5, 2011 robbery of a jeweller at Willowbrook Shopping Centre were arrested just a short time later in Coquitlam. One of the men charged, Christopher Reinke, has been sentenced to two years in jail.
— image credit: CTV News file photo

One of eight men charged in a 2011 jewelry heist at Willowbrook Shopping Centre will go to jail for two years for the “outrageous” crime that played out like a bad “B movie,” said the sentencing judge last month.

Christopher Reinke, 38, was sentenced to two years and two days, minus 30 days time served, for being part of the robbery at Golden Tree Jewellers on May 5, 2011.

Called a “persistent criminal,” Reinke was also sentenced to 60 days for failing to appear in court by Supreme Court Judge J. Williams in New Westminster on July 28.

The robbery took place at the noon hour when eight men vaulted jewelry cases and bear sprayed employees and bystanders while taking items. They fired gun shots on their way out of the mall.

Several people were treated for eye irritation, including a toddler. A security guard was sprayed directly in the face.

Six men were arrested in Coquitlam an hour after the hold-up and two in Vancouver later that day.

“If I were to sentence Mr. Reinke today to five or six years for this robbery, I do not believe that sentence would be characterizable as unfit, excessive or unduly harsh.

“The conduct at bar is, frankly, distressing in the extreme. It is outrageous,” said Justice Williams.

“For this gang of men to sweep into a mall frequented by ordinary citizens of the community and carry out a robbery that sounds like something out a B movie is inexcusable.”

The court learned Reinke is a heroin and cocaine addict, has no significant vocational skills, and has a record dating back to 1990 as a youth. He has spent a substantial amount of time in custody and it hasn’t been effective in deterrence.

The judge told Reinke it was his lucky day because Crown wasn’t asking for much jail time.

Crown counsel submitted that an appropriate sentence was in the order of 30 months.

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