Skip to content

Shoplifter who assaulted Burnaby mall cop with skateboard gets jail sentence

Richmond resident Shahraj Singh Purewal, 22, has pleaded guilty to theft and assault with a weapon
A Metrotown mall loss-prevention officer was hit in the head with a skateboard in November.

A 22-year-old Richmond man who stole two jackets at Burnaby’s Metrotown mall and then hit a mall cop in the head with a skateboard after being confronted has been sentenced to 120 days in jail and 18 months of probation.

Shahraj Singh Purewal was originally charged with robbery, assault with a weapon and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in relation to an incident at the Uniqlo store at the Metropolis at Metrotown mall on Nov. 5.

At about 9:30 p.m., a loss-prevention officer saw Purewal steal two jackets from the store, according to agreed facts shared in Vancouver provincial court Friday by Crown prosecutor Daniel Fox. 

When the woman confronted Purewal and asked him to return the item, things took a violent turn.

“At that point in time, he had a skateboard with him, and he used it to strike the loss-prevention officer in the head,” Fox said.

When police arrested Purewal, he was carrying the two jackets as well as bear spray, knives and a set of garden shears, according to Fox.

He was released on conditions, including a no-weapons order, but arrested again in Vancouver on Nov. 29, after police spotted him carrying a knife.

For that incident, he was charged with breaching a court order and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

He was released again with an electronic monitoring device but breached that bail as well, according to Fox.

On Friday, Purewal pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of assault with a weapon, theft and breaching his release order.

In a joint sentencing submission, Fox and defence lawyer Edward Cooper called for a sentence in the range of 90 to 120 days and 18 months’ probation.

Fox noted Purewal had a previous conviction for a robbery in December 2018.

Cooper noted Purewal struggles with bipolar disorder and an opioid addiction.

Vancouver provincial court Judge Harbans Dhillon outlined the seriousness of Purewal hitting the loss-prevention officer in the head with the skateboard.

“Can you imagine the kind of harm that can occur and the kind of permanent damage that might have resulted with that action?” she said.

Dhillon ultimately sentenced Purewal to 120 days in jail, minus time served, and 18 months of probation.

During his probation, he’ll be banned from carrying weapons, contacting the theft prevention officer and from going to the Metrotown mall.

He was also ordered to comply with psychiatric treatment.

Dhillon noted Purewal was still a young man and that he had accepted responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty.

“You are at a really important place in your life where the decisions you make when you get out of custody will impact whether you are able to lead a stable life and stay out of trouble with the criminal law,” Dhillon told Purewal. "You still have every opportunity to pick up the pieces of your life."

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email [email protected]