British Columbia

Man jailed for 'unusual, if not bizarre' crime spree in Vancouver

Brian Ross Phillips, 59, has been sentenced for crimes committed in 2015.

Brian Ross Phillips, 59, sentenced to 14 months behind bars

Brian Ross Phillips's crime spree ended a few doors down from Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Sept. 21, 2015. He was arrested inside a Starbucks a block away. (CBC)

A man has been sentenced to 14 months in jail for an "unusual, if not bizarre" crime spree that ended in his arrest at a coffee shop a block away from Vancouver Police Department headquarters.

It started when Brian Ross Phillips, 59, broke into an East Vancouver home and physically assaulted a woman inside on Sept. 21, 2015. He ran off after she phoned 911, then stole a nearby delivery van, which the owner had left running.

Court documents said Phillips drove the van to the police station on Cambie Street — at one point going the wrong way down a one-way street — before jumping out and running into a Starbucks close by. 

Police followed Phillips and, after a brief struggle, arrested him. He was later charged with breaking and entering, assault and stealing a vehicle.

Dismissed from job

During his trial, it became apparent that the string of events began one day earlier, when Phillips was dismissed from his job for drinking at a worksite before his shift. He then walked to an apartment in East Vancouver and drank more with friends. 

Phillips also had a history of drug use and court heard his actions on the day of his arrest "seem[ed] to be alcohol and drug related."

He was found guilty of all three charges on April 4 and sentenced on Nov. 2.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Murray Blok found his attack on the woman and erratic driving to be aggravating factors in the decision, but his sobriety over the past three years and "concrete steps" to deal with his drug problem mitigated his sentence.