Island man sentenced in Nanaimo court to four years for multiple robberies

NANAIMO – Jason Soukochoff, 36, pleaded guilty to charges of robbery on Vancouver Island.

A Shawnigan Lake man will serve four years and two months in prison after admitting to a series of robberies on Vancouver Island, including one in Nanaimo.

Jason Soukochoff, 36, pleaded guilty to seven charges ranging from attempted robbery, robbery, fraud and use of an imitation firearm in provincial court in Nanaimo on Monday.

Perhaps the most serious of the crimes that Soukochoff pleaded guilty to was robbing Mark Lutener, a commercial fisherman, in broad daylight at his Nanaimo home on Sept. 13. Lutener had just returned home from Port Alberni and was carrying a safe containing around $50,000 in cash when he was robbed by Soukochoff.Frank Dubenski, Crown counsel, told the court that in the the early morning hours of Sept. 13, Soukochoff hid in Lutener’s Chevrolet Colorado crew cab pickup while Lutener drove from Port Alberni to Nanaimo. After dropping the rest of his crew off at various locations throughout Nanaimo, Lutener pulled into the driveway of his Nanaimo home and was about to exit the truck when Soukochoff appeared out of nowhere and appeared to be holding a gun. Dubenski said Lutener instantly shut the door but Soukochoff managed to open the rear passenger door and a violent struggle immediately occurred. During the altercation the truck went into reverse and slammed into a neighbour’s house. Eventually, Soukochoff made off with Lutener’s truck, but was arrested by Nanaimo RCMP later in that day. The safe was never stolen as it managed to end up on the ground and the gun turned out to be fake. Dubenski told the court that Soukochoff claimed he had received information about the safe’s transport from a former employee of Lutener. The Nanaimo RCMP are still investigating the matter. Soukochoff also pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and robbing two women in the Victoria region, one of whom was 81 years old. He also admitted to stealing his father’s credit card and racking up roughly $12,000 in debt on it while he was living in Prince George last year. The court heard that in 2015, while living in Prince George, Soukochoff, lost his job at a Chrysler dealership after years of success as a car salesman. As a result, he fell into a brutal drug addiction, began to accumulate various drug debts and that his crimes were simply “fueled” by drugs. Crown counsel was hoping for a sentence between five to seven years for all of Soukochoff’s crimes, while the defence was seeking two years. Dubenski told the News Bulletin that he was satisfied with the sentence Soukochoff received.”I am never happy having an addict who acts this way in the community and endangers the community,” he said. “I am never happy with the circumstances, but I think he’ll be going somewhere where he can get the treatment that he needs.” Kendra Waugh, Soukochoff’s defence lawyer, said her client is sorry for his actions and that he pain that he has caused.”Mr. Soukochoff is very remorseful,” she said.

It was revealed in court that Soukochoff also has a prior criminal record for offences in Alberta and Washington. He will serve out his sentence on the Lower Mainland, although an exact location was not determined.reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

 

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