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Woman seeks help at P.E.I. churches, then steals while there

The Scales of Justice statue
The Scales of Justice statue. - SaltWire file photo

A 24-year-old woman who stole from people in two churches where she went asking for help was sentenced Tuesday to 218 days in jail on a string of charges.

Sarah Jane Knockwood appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown Tuesday for sentencing on six charges including two counts of theft over $5,000.

Knockwood was also sentenced for a break and enter, theft under $5,000, uttering a threat and possessing counterfeit money.

Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown attorney Lisa Goulden told the court that on July 10, Knockwood went to a church asking for help through food or money.

The court heard the victim went to the church’s pantry and returned to find Knockwood gone, along with a wallet that contained a cheque.

Goulden said Knockwood used the victim’s credit and debit cards to buy prepaid Visa cards.

That same day, Knockwood went to a second church, again asking for help.

The court heard that while Knockwood was there, the victim said he would go make some calls to try to help and while he was turned away, the accused stole a case that contained his hearing aids.

The cheque, credit and debit cards, and the hearing aids were later recovered.

“I have remorse for what I did." 
-Sarah Jane Knockwood

Knockwood also went to BoomBoom Embroidery that day where the court heard she told an employee she was there to rob the cash register and threatened to smash up the store.

Goulden said Knockwood stole a purse that contained a laptop, ID cards and credit cards.

During an earlier incident on June 21, Knockwood went to a Subway in Charlottetown where she found a hidden key in a janitor’s closet, which she used on a kiosk inside the restaurant.

The court heard Knockwood stole $180 from the till before returning the key to its hiding place.

Knockwood was also caught using counterfeit money on June 24 when she used a fake $50 bill to buy $4 in lottery tickets and get change at a Sobeys Express.


During the court proceedings, defence lawyer Alex Dalton said Knockwood struggled with addiction but has been taking advantage of programs while in jail.

Dalton told the court Knockwood plans to move to the Gaspé Peninsula.

Before hearing her sentence, Knockwood addressed the court to say she apologized for her actions.

“I have remorse for what I did,” she said.

With the sentence, Douglas followed a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence.

After credit for time spent in custody since her arrest, it left Knockwood no more time to serve.

Knockwood will be on probation for 18 months and must pay a total of $350 in restitution.

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