Armed tactical officers were at the scene of a standoff on Main Street in Listowel for much of the afternoon of February 22, 2019. The incident ended peacefully with the arrest of suspect Nathan Chambers in the early evening. (GALEN SIMMONS/THE BEACON HERALD)
The man arrested following a lengthy standoff with police in Listowel earlier this year pleaded guilty Monday to eight charges and was sentenced to nearly one year in jail.But Nathan Chambers, 22, will only be serving three more months after receiving credit for pre-sentence custody.He pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle, theft under $5,000, flight from police, dangerous driving, and multiple counts of driving while prohibited and failing to comply with bail conditions.“Serious charges,” Ontario Court Justice Katherine Neill said to Chambers, who sat quietly in the prisoner’s box wearing a grey dress shirt, with short brown hair and a thick beard wrapping around his chin.The charges were connected to multiple incidents in January, February and April.One of them led to a nearly six-hour standoff with police in Listowel on Feb. 22. Chambers had a court-imposed curfew to stay at his mother’s house in Palmerston but was seen on video at 2:30 a.m. that Friday going inside a house on Main Street West in Listowel. He also had several outstanding warrants at the time.“Clearly he has no respective for authority,” Neill said.Officers surrounded the house around 11 a.m. and arrested him around 5 p.m. The OPP’s west region emergency response team, canine unit and crisis negotiators were all involved in the incident. Students at three elementary schools were kept indoors throughout the day as a precaution.
Police officers escort a handcuffed suspect to vehicle after a nearly nine-hour standoff on Main Street in Listowel.(Crystal Kaiser/Special to the Beacon Herald)
Almost exactly one month earlier, a man called police about a blue 2009 Toyota Matrix that had been stolen from his home near Monkton. A black Dodge Ram, reported stolen earlier that morning, was left in his laneway.The Matrix was spotted on video surveillance at a gas station in Waterloo two days later after an attendant called police about a man filling a vehicle with $30 in gas and leaving without paying. Chambers was identified as the driver in the footage.On Feb. 5, two male suspects wearing full-faced balaclavas tried to steal a green 2017 Dodge Ram from a house north of Stratford in Gads Hill, but were confronted by the homeowner’s children and fled. An officer spotted a large van or an SUV near the thwarted theft and followed it. Initially, the vehicle drove at normal speeds but at one point sped up to 120 kilometres per hour, rolled through a stop sign, drove around a spike belt and a cruiser blocking the road, and went through a red light.Another spike belt near Linwood, about 30 kilometres away from the initial altercation, finally punctured one of the vehicle’s tires. Chambers left the vehicle in a ditch and fled on foot, the empty courtroom heard.After his arrest, a canine unit found a flash light and a balaclava in a nearby field. Tests later showed it was worn by Chambers. Police also found two hatchets, a set of bolt cutters and an open bottle of liquor in the vehicle.Finally, on April 11 – shortly after he was released on bail – an officer, who knew Chambers, saw him pull into a driveway in Palmerston, walk around the vehicle and go inside. He had several bail conditions and driving restrictions attached to him at the time.Assistant Crown attorney Andrew Paul pointed out Chambers has never actually had a driver’s licence and he’s shown “repeated” disregard for court orders. Defence lawyer Ben Scholten said his client, a high school dropout who grew up in Listowel, has a long history of drug abuse.The two lawyers agreed on nine to 12 months behind bars. The judge settled on 10.5 months and gave him credit for 7.5 months served.He also received three years of probation, featuring a rare condition of not being allowed to sit in the front of a vehicle, and three years of not being permitted to drive.Monday didn’t mark the end of Chambers’ charges in Stratford, though, as he still has a trial scheduled for Oct. firstname.lastname@example.org