A judge sentenced a Montreal man to 16 years in prison — six years longer than Crown and defence lawyers had recommended — for robbing seniors after getting into their homes by posing as a utility worker.

At the sentencing in Quebec Court on Thursday, Judge Robert Marchi said he increased the sentence because he wanted to send a serious message to Michel Riendeau and other potential home invaders.

Riendeau had pleaded guilty, admitting to invading the homes of seven people ranging from age 63 to90 over a three-month period by pretending to work for Hydro Québec.

In one incident, Riendeau told an 80-year-old man his electricity needed to be turned off.When the elderlyman refused because his wife was on a respirator, Riendeau pushedhim aside andstole$110.

Another victim, who was 78 at the time, was bound, gagged and blindfoldedwhen Riendeau and his accomplicestole $1,500.

The judge said such kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated, calling home invasions one of the most serious crimes.

He said he could not accept a joint recommendation by Riendeau's lawyer and the Crown of10 years in prison, saying a more serious message needs to be sent to potential home invaders.

Crown lawyer Martine Hebert said it was a very good sentence.

"The victims —they were old people," Hebert said. "To discourage other people from doing the same things, I'm hoping that with that kind of sentence, it will have that effect."

Riendeau displayed no emotion after the sentence was given.