09/01/2017 09:32 EDT | Updated 09/01/2017 09:32 EDT

Stephane Sauve Sentenced To Jail For Robbing Pay Phones 65 Times

Police say he caused an estimated $109,000 in damage.

Old pay phones with grafitti.
Roberto Machado Noa via Getty Images
Old pay phones with grafitti.

MONTREAL — A Montreal-area man who broke into pay phones 65 times over several months and made off with $6,000 has been sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Laval police say Stephane Sauve, 48, had been detained since his arrest last February as he emptied the contents of a pay phone.

Police spokeswoman Evelyne Boudreau said Sauve, a local resident, was caught with help from Bell Canada's security team, which installed a computer chip inside a number of phones.

Alarm triggered near gas station

She noted that some phones had been targeted more than once.

"With Bell, we decided to have a small chip inserted in some phones which would be an alarm system that would alert Bell Canada," Boudreau said.

"And on that particular day, on the 10th of February 2017, an alarm came out from a gas station with a phone booth and Bell called 911."

The investigation began in June 2016 following a number of police reports about public phones and telephone booths being broken into.

It's not a usual target because there are fewer and fewer telephone booths.

Boudreau said there were 37 such incidents in Laval and 28 in Montreal.

"It's not a usual target because there are fewer and fewer telephone booths," she added.

Sauve, who was formally charged Feb. 13 with robbery, mischief, possession of burglary tools and violating his conditions, was sentenced Wednesday.

Boudreau said Sauve was detained because he had a prior criminal record that included shoplifting as well as thefts from vending and coffee machines.

Police say damage was estimated at $109,000.

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