Soldier blames Airborne for robbery

A former paratrooper says he couldn't deal with the disbanding of the Canadian Airborne Regiment, so he tried to make off with $400,000 in the most violent holdup in Calgary history.

Sgt. Darnell Bass and an accomplice dressed as security guards in the 1997 military-style heist, during which 88 rounds of ammunition were fired at two armoured car staff.

Bass's preliminary hearing ended quickly yesterday when he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of conspiracy to commit robbery. He was promptly sentenced to seven years in prison.

Bass, who served with the Airborne during its Somalia peacekeeping mission, said he turned to crime in his depression over the disbanding of his regiment.

In April he appeared before a parliamentary committee to plea for more public respect for the military.

The judge called Bass a disgrace to Canada's military.

Patrick Ryan is also facing charges in the March 1997 holdup. He's a childhood friend of Bass and has been arrested in France. He's charged with attempted murder and attempted robbery in connection with the same incident.