Michael Gerard Cooper arrested after entering liquor store
Convicted drunk driver served 7 years in prison for deaths of Angela Smits, Michael MacLean
A convicted drunk driver barred from entering any place that sells alcohol was arrested after being spotted at a Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation store in Halifax today, according to staff at the store.
Michael Gerard Cooper is prohibited from consuming, purchasing, or possessing alcohol and entering any place alcohol is sold or consumed. He had served a seven-year sentence for driving drunk and killing two young people in 2004.
The 55-year-old man told the Parole Board of Canada he would not stop drinking and driving, prompting police in Halifax to warn the public he's at high risk to re-offend.
Mike Maloney, a spokesman for the NSLC, said Cooper was first spotted by security staff in the parking lot outside the Mumford Road store on Tuesday morning. He was wearing a suit and talking on a cellphone when he walked into the store.
"He just came in and was looking around but that in and of itself is enough to violate the terms of his release," Maloney told CBC News.
"I don't want to speculate what he was thinking when he was doing it but he didn't attempt to buy, that's what I can say at this point. He obviously wanted to take a look inside and like I said, he's not allowed to do that."
Maloney said as Cooper was walking in, liquor store staff visually confirmed it was him and called police. Cooper didn't speak to any staff before he left, said Maloney.
Halifax Regional Police said he was arrested at a bus stop nearby.
Photo appears on liquor store computers
"Our advice is never to approach anybody especially with some sort of criminal background," said Maloney.
"The best thing to do in this case is to involve the authorities and I think that's the way we prefer to do things and I think the authorities would feel the same."
Cooper's case attracted national attention after the parents of Angela Smits, one of his victims, asked Nova Scotia authorities to provide Cooper's name and photo to liquor stores, bars and other licensed establishments.
Maloney said Cooper's picture was set to appear on the store's computers every time an employee logged on.
"In short, our system worked here today. Last week we notified employees about Michael Cooper's release and what to look out for and what to do should he enter one of our stores and today was the day that that was put to the test," said Maloney.
"It is a bit of a validation about the security protocol that we have here and just the level of commitment that our staff have."
Cooper appeared in court Tuesday afternoon, charged with two counts of breaching his recognizance. He was remanded to the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth for a fitness assessment.
His lawyer said Cooper has significant mental deficits as a result of the crash in 2004.