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Man sentenced for Burnaby poker-game robbery and spectacular bail breach

Ange Hatot, 27, pleaded guilty to robbing a private poker game in Burnaby. Then he skipped bail and ended up in a stolen pickup near Vernon, BC, where police arrested him with help from a helicopter, spike belt and police dog.

A man who got himself and a partner into a private poker game in Burnaby and then robbed it with a fake firearm didn’t do himself any favours while he was awaiting sentencing.

“In the anticipation of getting sentenced, most folks behave very very well because they’re trying to gain merit for their sentencing hearing,” B.C. provincial court Judge David St. Pierre noted at a sentencing hearing Tuesday for 27-year-old Ange Hatot.

Poker game

Hatot had pleaded guilty in August 2021 to one count of robbery and one count of using an imitation firearm to commit an offence.

The charges related to incidents on March 3, 2021.

Hatot and another man had gotten themselves into a private poker game at a Burnaby home, according to facts laid out by St. Pierre.

Police investigators could see for themselves what happened next because the host had video-recorded the game.

“The video shows them playing poker, Mr. Hatot and his co-accused standing up suddenly at one point and drawing firearms and pointing at the other folks in the game,” St. Pierre said.

The pair then relieved the other players of valuables and cash before forcing the host to open a safe with $6,000 in it, according to St. Pierre.

But the host fought the men off with a knife, injuring Hatot’s co-accused in the neck before the two fled.

Hatot and his co-accused were charged with robbery, unlawful confinement and use of an imitation firearm to commit an offence in June 2021, and Hatot entered his guilty pleas less than two months later.

But that wouldn’t be the end of it.

Helicopter, spike belt, police dog

Hatot was placed on house arrest with an electronic monitoring bracelet pending his sentencing, but he ditched the bracelet and took off on Sept. 22, 2021.

Police didn’t catch up with him again until Dec. 8, 2021 – with help from a helicopter, spike belt and police dog, just west of Lumby, B.C.

Vernon RCMP got a report of a stolen vehicle heading west on Highway 6 toward Vernon, according to a police news release at the time.

Officers located the stolen Ford F150 with help from a police chopper, and tried to stop it, but it fled at a “high rate of speed.”

At one point, a spike belt punctured all four of the truck’s tires, but it kept going, hitting a police cruiser as it went, according to St. Pierre.

The male driver eventually abandoned the truck and fled on foot into a residential area, where a police dog name Jak found him.

The man was Hatot, and a search of the stolen truck turned up guns, St. Pierre said.

Dangerous driving, possession of stolen property, flight from police and skipping bail were added to Hatot’s list of charges, and he was kept in custody until his sentencing this week.

“Quite frankly, in this case, there are few mitigating factors, given the choices that were made by Mr. Hatot after the initial offence was committed back in March of 2021,” St. Pierre said.

‘It’s up to you’

Hatot pleaded guilty to one count each of dangerous driving, possession of stolen property and breaching bail.

Crown prosecutor Paul Pietrusinski had called for up to seven years in prison, according to St. Pierre, while defence lawyer Jonathan Desbarats said the total sentence should be three years and three months.

St. Pierre ultimately decided five-and-a-half years was appropriate.

He noted Hatot already had a criminal record, including convictions for breaking and entering, theft from vehicles and careless use of a firearm.

He urged Hatot, who struggles with addiction, to take advantage of the programs that will be available to him behind bars.

“It’s up to you to make something different of your life when you get out,” St. Pierre said.

With enhanced credit for time he’s already served, Hatot has nearly four years left on his sentence.

The case against his co-accused is still before the courts.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor