Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen sits with a Bushmaster assault rifle

Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen sits with a Bushmaster assault rifle

Two years in prison for Saanich man who stole 148 guns

For Lucky Jhagra, collecting guns turned from a hobby to an obsessive compulsion that landed the 41-year-old Saanich man in prison.

For Lucky Jhagra, collecting guns turned from a hobby to an obsessive compulsion that landed the 41-year-old Saanich man in prison.

Jhagra pleaded guilty on Tuesday to seven charges related to stealing 148 firearms from his employer, Island Outfitters, and then selling 13 of the weapons to people in Victoria and across Canada. Judge Sue Wishart sentenced him to two years and he was taken into custody.

Crown and defence lawyers agreed on a two year sentence based on the brazen theft of so many dangerous weapons and the illegal and sloppy way they were stored at his Shelbourne Street home.

The crimes were mitigated by the fact that he only sold guns to licenced buyers and the sales were documented with the proper authorities. He also produced 42 letters of support attesting to his upstanding character, despite the thefts.

Saanich police investigators recovered all 148 handguns, semiautomatic rifles and shotguns, including the 13 sold to customers as far away as Nova Scotia, in part thanks to the now-defunct long-gun registry.

Those guns will be returned to Island Outfitters, plus Jhagra’s 27 legally owned guns, worth $13,000 to $15,000, as part of the restitution order. The stolen guns had a retail value of about $270,000 and the weapons he sold summed to $12,840.

“I can’t imagine how shocked the authorities were in the number and type of weapons found in Mr. Jhagra’s home,” Wishart remarked. “It’s fortunate they didn’t fall into the wrong hands.”

“His only explanation he offered is that he always had an interest in firearms. Over time, the interest became a fascination, then became an obsession that became a pathology,” said Jhagra’s lawyer Andrew Tam. “His addiction to obtaining firearms overcame his sense of right and wrong. It began with one firearm, then another and another, and it snowballed into the collection.”

Jhagra, a firearms instructor who grew up in Victoria, began working at Island Outfitters in 2008, and quickly moved into a position of trust overseeing firearm sales. According to a statement of facts entered in court, he began stealing weapons in 2009 after he found a flaw in the store’s inventory system that allowed him to order guns, but log the number of weapons in stock to zero.

A general audit of the store in February 2012 unveiled the scam. Saanich officers found an arsenal where he lived in the basement suite of his parent’s house, and in the garage.

Forty-five of the guns were stored in the open without trigger locks, such as the Bushmaster rifle found propped behind his living room door, and handguns on the floor. He also had about 15,000 round of ammo on the property.

“These are very powerful weapons, some military-style weapons,” Crown prosecutor Trevor Shaw told the court. “They were stolen and stored unsafely as well. … He had the ability to arm a small insurrection.”

Shaw noted that the theft damaged the reputation of Island Outfitters as a business and within the gun-owning community. He read to the court statements from the store owners that indicated that the betrayal cut deep, that they have lost trust in their employees, and feared more thefts were happening under their noses.

Both had pondered shutting down the business in the wake of the high-profile theft.

Jhagra wept as Tam read his client’s apology letters into the record, written to the owners and manager of the store.

“(The thefts) were never malicious. They were not bad bosses,” Jhagra told the court. “I did it because I like guns. I know it sounds stupid, but I like this stuff. I didn’t think about right or wrong, I didn’t think about the consequences.”

Jhagra pleaded guilty to two counts of theft over $5,000, two counts of possessing a weapon obtained through an offence, unlawful storage of weapons, and two counts of laundering proceeds of a crime.

He is required to repay his victims and has a lifetime ban from owning weapons.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read