Beau Desire-Tesar on Wednesday told a court he isn’t the same person who stole safes full of guns and jewellery from a Yellowknife home two years ago.
Desire-Tesar was arrested after the thefts from a home on Rivett Crescent on 2018’s Thanksgiving weekend. This week, the 34-year-old said his actions were the result of addiction.
A judge will now decide the length of his sentence.
“The person who did that crime is not the person I am today. I truly, sincerely mean that from the bottom of my heart,” Desire-Tesar said.
“I don’t want ever to go back to that. I just lost one of my best friends to drug addiction – I am so sick of drugs.”
Desire-Tesar was referring to Yellowknife resident Todd Vatcher, who passed away of a suspected overdose on October 23 at the age of 29.
Vatcher and Desire-Tesar had been roommates in 2018. Vatcher pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in September and was to have been sentenced on November 9.
Appearing by video from Yellowknife’s North Slave Correctional Complex, Desire-Tesar told the court he was going to stay sober. He thanked the NWT government for sending him to the Edgewood treatment centre in Nanaimo, BC.
“Through my journey in sobriety, looking back at my life, I’ve seen the trauma that I’ve caused my family and other people,” said Desire-Tesar. “I’m so grateful for the court to have let me go for [treatment]. It not only changed my life, it saved my life.
“I’m going in a different direction. I want to help people now. I want to become an addictions counsellor. I want to give back to the Northwest Territories.”
Desire-Tesar offered an apology to the owners of the home where the theft occurred, stating he was “truly and sincerely sorry.”
Wallet left at scene, car got stuck
Crown prosecutor Morgan Fane said Desire-Tesar had been invited to a party at the home on October 8, 2018.
“During the course of the party, it became apparent to Mr Desire-Tesar that there were valuables inside the home,” said Fane. In the early morning, after the other guests left and with the host asleep, Desire-Tesar removed some gun safes, not knowing what was inside.
The contents included nine non-restricted firearms, a semi-automatic 9-mm handgun, magazines, scopes, ammunition, knives and outdoor electronic accessories.
There was also a one-carat diamond alongside a white gold pendant necklace.
In all, the items taken were valued by the homeowners at $50,000.
Fane told the court Desire-Tesar left behind a wallet containing his identification. “That must have made the investigators’ job easier,” quipped Judge Donovan Molloy.
Desire-Tesar called in help after his car got stuck in front of the home. François Parisella, a distant relative, was seen by neighbours using his distinctive, lime green Dodge truck to tow Desire-Tesar’s Audi car.
A Rivett Crescent neighbour who watched the tow happen testified the Audi was full of household contents with “stuff sticking out at least one of the windows.”
Desire-Tesar discovered what was inside the gun safes at Parisella’s garage. Parisella subsequently rented a storage locker at Diamond Mini Storage, where he was arrested several days later and six of the firearms recovered.
In March, Parisella was given a five-month conditional sentence after being found guilty of possessing property obtained by crime.
Fane told the court Desire-Tesar’s Audi was found on a road near the NWT Legislative Assembly with a box of spent ammunition from one of the gun safes and prescription bottles bearing the names of the Rivett Crescent home’s residents.
The stolen handgun and three magazines were later discovered when RCMP searched a vehicle owned by Toufic Chamas, who had been under surveillance as part of an investigation into Yellowknife’s cocaine trade.
That investigation resulted in charges against 15 people in December 2018.
Desire-Tesar fled Yellowknife and was eventually arrested in Westlock, Alberta on November 1, 2018.
Fane said three of the non-restricted firearms are still missing, as are the outdoor accessories and jewellery. The prosecutor called for a 21-month sentence for possessing a stolen firearm and six months to be served concurrently for theft over $5,000. He also asked for a three-year period of probation and restitution of $8,118.
Desire-Tesar has accumulated 322 days’ remand credit. He has a criminal record that includes convictions for trafficking and theft under $5,000. He was subject to a 10-year firearms prohibition at the time of the Rivett Crescent theft.
He is $20,000 in debt, the court heard.
Fane said Desire-Tesar’s intention was to earn money by selling the stolen weapons and merchandise.
Defence lawyer David Tarnow said it took about six months for Desire-Tesar to “have his brain cleared” from drug addiction.
He called the GNWT’s decision to send him for rehab “insightful” but noted Desire-Tesar told him other Edgewood clients from the NWT had not remained sober.
Tarnow called for a sentence of 16 months with restitution paid when his client is able.
Judge Molloy reserved his decision on sentencing until December 18.