100 Mile provincial court. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

100 Mile provincial court. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Man, 86, gets suspended sentence for 100 Mile bank robbery

Judge said Alexander Bird had suffered ‘cognitive disorder’ during 2019 incident

An 86-year-old man who robbed a CIBC bank in 100 Mile House in 2019 was given a three-year suspended sentence Wednesday.

Judge Rita Bowry noted Alexander Bird had been suffering from a cognitive disorder when he committed the offense in downtown 100 Mile House on June 3, 2019. Bird pleaded guilty last November to a lesser charge of mischief and theft over $5,000 in relation to the incident. Other charges – committing a robbery where a firearm was used and careless use of a firearm – were stayed.

The judge deemed the probationary sentence – proposed jointly by Crown and defense – was satisfactory in this “exceptional circumstance,” noting Bird has been on bail and closely supervised over the past three years with no issues. She also imposed several conditions, including a no-go order in relation to the CIBC bank teller he held up, a weapons prohibition and psychiatric treatment.

“It was a difficult matter and I’m glad this resolution was reached,” Bowry said in handing down sentence in BC provincial court in 100 Mile House.

The court heard how Bird had had an argument with his partner in Clinton and left home with a .22-calibre rifle. He said he had planned to shoot himself but “didn’t have the guts,” Crown Counsel Samuel Mann said. He then drove to 100 Mile House where he spent a night in his van.

The next day, he took the rifle and walked into the CIBC, where he had an account. He slipped behind the counter and demanded the teller give him cash.

“He pointed the rifle at her and told her to give him all the large bills,” Mann said. After the teller filled the bag, Bird set the rifle on the counter and drove to Tim Hortons where he had a coffee and a bun.

Police, who were alerted to Bird’s whereabouts by witnesses, approached the man as he headed toward his vehicle. They found the stolen money in a Walmart bag in the back seat.

According to police testimony, Mann said, Bird appeared disoriented and couldn’t remember what had happened at the bank. While the circumstances are concerning and very aggravated, Mann said, “this is an exceptional circumstance” and noted Bird did not have a previous criminal record.

Defense lawyer Clare Hauser added Bird was extremely remorseful for what he’d done.

“He’s bewildered, shocked and incredibly apologetic for his actions and sorry he has hurt people he had seen on a regular basis,” Hauser said.

The judge said she took into account the aggravating circumstances as well as victim impact statement from the CIBC teller, noting “we should be able to go into these establishments and work in them without fear of this happening.” She also considered Bird’s age, early guilty plea, his remorse and the steps he’s taken towards improving his mental health.

Bird, who now lives in Chilliwack, did not speak at his sentencing.


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