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Stealing bike from the library leads to probation for offender

William Michaels suffers from mental illness and was experiencing instability when he stole the bike
Prov court 1
Moose Jaw provincial court sits every Monday to Thursday. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

After parking his bike at the Moose Jaw Public Library, William Danny Donnie Michaels spotted a red bike also parked in the rack and decided he liked that one better.

Surveillance cameras spotted Michaels, 23, hop onto the $200 bike and ride off, leaving his behind and for the owner to call police to report the theft. 

In Moose Jaw provincial court on Aug. 19, Michaels pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000 and received a suspended sentence, which means he won’t serve jail time. As part of a joint submission, he will spend the next 12 months on probation, have to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, report to a probation officer and take counselling. 

Police identified Michaels after viewing the surveillance footage and arrested him quickly, said Crown prosecutor Stephen Yusuff. The Crown took into consideration Michaels’ personal circumstances — he suffers from mental illness — when putting together the sentence recommendation. 

“He has fairly significant mental health and cognitive difficulties,” echoed legal aid lawyer Suzanne Jeanson. 

Michaels was experiencing instability at the time he committed the offence and was not doing well in life, she continued. Since then, however, he has been taking new medication that is slowly starting to work. It’s early, but Jeanson noted Michaels is now more stable. 

“We thought support and counselling would be beneficial for him,” she said. Michaels is open to working with the probation officer, whom he has interacted with previously. 

Jeanson informed Judge Daryl Rayner that the bike had not been recovered. 

Rayner accepted the joint submission, saying he would normally make Michaels pay restitution for the bike, but didn’t think he would be able to given his unique circumstances. 

Moose Jaw provincial court next meets on Aug. 20.