British Columbia

Kootenay crime spree getaway driver sentenced in Nelson

A high profile armed robbery trial has finally ended in Nelson with the getaway driver heading to jail for four and a half years.

Krista Kalmikoff helped her shotgun-wielding boyfriend rob six banks and stores

Andrew Stevenson was sentenced to 10 years in prison last September for a string of six armed robberies in the West Kootenays. On Tuesday his girlfriend Krista Kalmikoff was sentenced to 4 1/2 years for driving the getaway car. (Will Johnson/Nelson Star)

A high profile armed robbery trial has finally ended in Nelson with the driver of the getaway car receiving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Krista Kalmikoff, 28, was found to be an accomplice in a long running West Kootenay crime spree that put the whole region on edge in the spring of 2014.

Kalmikoff's shotgun-wielding boyfriend Andrew Stevenson robbed six banks and stores, often terrorizing employees and customers. He was sentenced to ten years in prison last year.

Kalmikoff's lawyer argued that his client was an unwitting participant who didn't know Stevenson was robbing banks while she waited in the car. 

But the judge said the fact that she behaved in a passive and compliant manner contributed to her involvement.

"To show that the getaway driver is going to be held very much accountable sends a very good message to the community in my view," said Crown lawyer Sunday Patola.

Kalmikoff and Stevenson were finally caught after leading police on a high speed chase around Nelson in the aftermath of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a downtown credit union.

Kalmikoff apologized to the court before being led away in shackles.

With files from Bob Keating

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