North Vancouver man sentenced for starting fire at Capilano University

Shane Nendick received just under two years of house arrest for crimes committed in 2015

Christine Beyleveldt // News Editor

 

Almost three years after lighting parts of the Capilano University library on fire, Shane Nendick has finally received an official court ruling.

In late August, Nendick was sentenced to just under two years of house arrest for three break-ins in North Vancouver, multiple counts of mischief, theft and arson. All crimes were carried out between December 2014 and January 2015.

The break-ins alarmed the community at the time, with CapU suffering the most extensive damages. Emergency crews were called to the school on Jan. 2, 2015, after a sprinkler in the library was activated, dousing a fire that had been started inside a cabinet. A male suspect was implicated for the break-in, smashing a door to gain entry to the library and prying open a safe containing $1,200, as well as starting the fire. Although smoke damage was minimal, the sprinklers left extensive water damage to books and the surrounding area. Judge William Rodgers included in his reasons for handing down the sentence that the cost of the damages amounted to approximately $225,000.

The suspect was captured on security footage that was released to the public in an effort to identify him. Since the Squamish resident was arrested in January 2016, he has been living with his mother on bail and has complied with his terms of house arrest. Nendick was convicted after he was identified and his DNA matched to that on a Sprite bottle found in the library that the suspect had been seen drinking from in the security footage.

Nendick was also implicated for two break-ins at an Esso gas station and Henry’s Convenience Store as well as for slashing more than 180 tires belonging to cars parked around campus, at the Holiday Inn and Park and Tilford on Dec. 4, 2014. The slashing spree amounted to $24,000 in damages.

CapU Senior Communications Advisor Cheryl Rossi commented that CapU respects the provincial court’s decision. The University has taken precautionary measures to make the campus more secure in the near three years since the incident occured. CapU completed a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Assessment (CPTED) with the RCMP, a multidisciplinary approach to deter criminal behaviour that included reporting potential hiding spots and carrying out landscaping work to remove them. Rossi noted that additional security cameras were also installed around the campus and existing cameras were replaced with models that can capture high quality images.

Rodgers wrote that Nendick’s sentence was his “last chance”. At the time of the break-ins, Nendick was homeless and had a prior criminal record. Michael Fox, Nendick’s defence lawyer, pleaded for a lesser sentence based on his extremely low intellectual and cognitive functioning, which was ascertained by psychological assessments submitted to Rodgers. There appeared to be no motive for Nendick’s break-ins. Although where CapU and the Esso station were concerned, Crown Counsel Arlene Loyst indicated they required premeditation.

Following his conditional sentence of just under two years, during which Nendick is compelled to undergo counselling, he will remain on a Probation Order and under community supervision for an additional three years. “If Nendick is sent to the penitentiary it is unlikely that he will participate in counselling and there are no realistic means of compelling his participation,” Rodgers wrote.

Loyst requested a three to five-year prison sentence, which Rodgers wrote was reasonable. If Nendick fails to abide by his terms of Conditional Sentence Order and Suspended Sentence he will face incarceration.

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