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P.E.I. man sentenced for smoke shop robbery, church break in

Sacha Murray, a clerk at a Charlottetown smoke shop, has been the victim of three armed robberies. She was in court April 10, 2017 to give a victim’s impact statement in relation to the most recent incident.
Sacha Murray, a clerk at a Charlottetown smoke shop, has been the victim of three armed robberies. She was in court April 10, 2017 to give a victim’s impact statement in relation to the most recent incident.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The material loss from the Frugal Smoke Shop in Charlottetown pales in comparison to the considerable human price. 

The armed robbery netted Jordan Michael MacLennan several cartons of cigarettes.

The most damaging cost of this crime, however, is the great peace of mind that MacLennan has snatched away from two innocent people.

Both victims, a clerk and the shop’s owner, took the stand in provincial court Monday to deliver powerful victim impact statements.

Sacha Murray was working the counter when MacLennan entered the Kensington Street store on Nov. 29.

The robber’s face was covered. He was brandishing a knife.

He headed around the counter, waving the knife in the air, screaming at Murray.

She had plenty of cause to fear for her safety. She bolted over the counter to get out of harm’s way.

MacLennan swooped in and snatched up the smokes, then fled from the store.

The theft was quick, but the impact on Murray has been traumatic and lasting.

“I was terrified to go to sleep,’’ she said in court, reading from her victim impact statement.

“I was overprotective of my (young) daughter.’’

Inexplicably, customers teased Murray about the robbery, making light of a video of the frightening incident that showed Murray leaping in terror over the counter.

So the mocking only managed to traumatize Murray over and over again.

She has MacLennan to blame for the emotional distress that has hounded her since the robbery.

She looked straight at the culprit in court to offer the following assessment of his character: “You know, you’re a real piece of garbage.’’

Outside of court Murray agreed to speak with The Guardian.

She has no empathy for a person like MacLennan who is willing to feed an addiction through crime, specifically armed robbery.

It’s understandable, considering Murray has been the victim of an armed robbery not once but three times.

“I don’t care if a person has an addiction,’’ she says.

“My life can be taken just like that.’’

She says this latest robbery has made her life a mess.

“I like my job, but my life has changed now because of this guy,’’ she explains.

The armed robbery also devastated Tyler Trainor, who has owned and operated the Frugal Smoke Shop for a dozen years.

The encounter with a knife-wielding MacLennan has led to sleepless nights, nightmares and Tyler breaking out in cold sweats.

Trying to carry on with day-to-day life has been a struggle.

He missed out on his daughter’s ninth birthday because he couldn’t get up the will to leave his own bedroom.

He has been immersed in anxiety each day at work since the unsettling crime.

“My business is how I provide for my family,’’ he told the court.

“It has taken all the enjoyment out of my business.’’

Crown attorney Lisa Goulden says clerks and shop owners have the right to work without facing the threat of being killed.

Provincial Court Judge John Douglas acknowledged the “serious emotional impact’’ on the victims before sentencing MacLennan to 22 months in the Provincial Correctional Centre for the armed robbery. The sentence is in addition to the roughly 200 days already served by MacLennan, who pleaded guilty to the crime.

Douglas also sentenced the 20-year-old MacLennan to 60 days in jail for breaking into the St. James Presbyterian Church on Fitzroy Street in Charlottetown on Nov. 23, to be served concurrently with the other sentence.

MacLennan will be on probation for 24 months upon his release from jail.

He stood in court to apologize shortly before Douglas imposed sentencing.

“I really do apologize for these crimes and the ways I hurt these people physically and emotionally,’’ he said.

Murray said the apology rang hollow and did nothing to erase the immense emotional harm MacLennan has inflicted.

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