A Regina businessman who illegally siphoned natural gas from SaskEnergy will not go to jail but will have to pay back $20,000, a judge decided Friday.
In April, Stacey Getz, 50, was found guilty of stealing an estimated $20,000 worth of gas from the Crown utility over nearly three years.
Court heard Getz owned his own welding, fabrication and mechanical business called Getz Enterprises.
In 2000, SaskEnergy disconnected the gas supply to his business because he failed to pay his bills.
In turn, beginning in 2008 until he was caught in 2011, he stole natural gas to fire various appliances at his business by connecting to a SaskEnergy supply line.
Getz said his actions were motivated by desperation, saying that becauseSaskEnergy was a monopoly, there was no other way for him to get gas.
At the sentencing in Queen's Bench court on Friday, Justice Brian Barrington-Foote called the theft "a serious offence."
He said Getz had worked meticulously to cover up his crime, which was only discovered when a disgruntled employee reported him.
Barrington-Foote also expressed concerns about the safety of Getz's employees.
"Natural gas is explosive. Its use is highly regulated for good reason ... there was a potential risk to the safety of the employees of Getz Enterprises and first responders," he said.
In his ruling, the judge also said he felt Getz was only sorry he was caught, but was not convinced he was truly remorseful for having committed the crime.
Getz received a one-year conditional sentence, and will be required to pay $20,000 is restitution. He must comply with a number of requirements including:
- being of good behaviour.
- remaining in Saskatchewan.
- observing a curfew for the first six months of his sentence.
- allowing police to search his properties without a warrant to ensure he is not stealing utilities .
- and paying $250 per month in restitution until he has repaid the $20,000.
Getz, who displayed no emotion as he was sentenced, did not speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.