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Man sentenced after getting caught in Burnaby with his second stolen U-Haul

Christopher Brett Houghton, 39, has been sentenced to three months in jail and one year of probation for possessing stolen property and breaking his probation

For the second time in less than six months, a B.C. judge has banned Christopher Brett Houghton from touching any U-Haul vehicle.

Burnaby RCMP pulled the 39-year-old over on Jan. 13 for using an electronic device while driving a U-Haul truck near the intersection of Willingdon Avenue and Lougheed Highway, according to agreed facts presented in Vancouver provincial court Monday.

Houghton first told police his name was “Steven Johnson” but eventually provided his real name, according to the facts.

It turned out the U-Haul was stolen; it had been rented in Burnaby in December by someone with ID for Steven Johnson but never returned.

It also turned out Houghton had been caught with a stolen U-Haul before, in Langley in December 2020, and was under a Sept. 10, 2021 probation order banning him from touching, possessing or entering any U-Haul vehicle.  

He had also been banned from possessing any lottery tickets or identification documents except in his own name.

But when police pulled him over in Burnaby in January, they found both “multiple IDs” and lottery tickets on him, according to the facts.

On Monday, Houghton pleaded guilty to one count each of possessing stolen property and breaching his probation order.

In a joint sentencing submission, Crown prosecutor Louise Gauld and defence lawyer Zack Myers called for a three-month jail sentence and one year of probation.

Gauld noted Houghton had a “serious and violent” criminal record, including four robberies.

Myers said Houghton has struggled with a cocaine addiction since the death of a child but is making attempts to turn his life around and has a legitimate offer of housing and employment on the Sunshine Coast for after he gets out of jail.

B.C. provincial court Judge Harbans Dhillon said Houghton’s criminal record reflected a “real deep dive into criminality” but she accepted the joint submission and sentenced Houghton to 90 days in jail and one year of probation.

On probation, he will again be banned from touching or possessing any U-Haul vehicle. He also won’t be allowed to touch or occupy the driver’s seat of any private motor vehicle or possess any identification documents except for those in his own name.

After credit for time served, Houghton has 22 days left on his sentence.

When asked whether he had anything to say to the court, Houghton said:

“I can assure you that I’ve definitely turned over a new leaf this time. For real, I won’t let you or the court or myself down. You won’t regret this.”

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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