Five-year sentence for armed North Delta break-in

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A man has been sentence to five years in jail for his role in an armed home invasion in North Delta in 2011.

Yonatan Abraham Kassa, 28, earlier pleaded guilty to three charges – break and enter, using an imitation firearm and theft over $5,000 – in connection with an August 2011 home invasion on Fairfield Place (off 72 Avenue and 112 Street) in North Delta.

It was on that night that Kassa and some associates, after casing the house, smashed through the front door. Despite thinking the house was empty, there was a man and woman inside, who immediately fled and hid in a shed outside.

The home was ransacked and two small safes were stolen, as well as computers, cell phones and brand name handbags. Before they left, two other people interrupted the theft – a lawn care employee who left when told to, and a neighbour who quickly charged in and out when a gun was raised.

Unbeknownst to them, Kassa and his associates were under police surveillance the entire time. When officers closed in on them in a van at a nearby mall, they discovered not only the stolen items, but a home invasion kit that included bear spray, balaclavas, change of licence plate and tools. There was also a firearm and the imitation gun.

Kassa was sentenced in early March in B.C. Supreme Court but the decision was just posted online this week.

Kassa, who was involved in the drug trade, has already spent two years in custody and has a past criminal record that includes trafficking, possession, trespassing and break and enter. With credit for time served, he has just over three years remaining on the current sentence.

In his written reasons for sentencing, Justice Robert Crawford referred to the sanctity of a person's home.

"People are entitled to feel free and secure in their residence," he said. "Society cannot tolerate criminal intrusion into the privacy of the home, otherwise people start resorting – as we see south of the border – having guns in their home and sometimes quite innocent people on their doorstep get blown away."

Crawford said the "saving grace" in this case was that the people in the house, as well as those that showed up, left as quickly as possible before any violence ensued.

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