Convicted shoplifter banned from Chinatown and Kensington Market
Helping yourself to a five-finger discount has never been so sticky: Anthony Bennett, a 52-year-old with a history of repeated shoplifting, has been banned from both Toronto’s Chinatown and Kensington Market neighbourhoods. Again (he was already observing a temporary ban). You may remember Bennett as both the perpetrator and victim in a high-profile citizen’s arrest case from 2009: Bennett stole some plants from the Lucky Moose grocery store, only to be later chased down by the shop’s owner, David Chen, tied up and thrown in the back of a van, vigilante style. (Chen was acquitted of assault and forcible confinement charges last October.)
Bennett pleaded guilty to three accounts of theft under $5,000 and received a three-year suspended sentence in the Lucky Moose case, as well as four months in jail for a second shoplifting case also involving merchants in Chinatown. The ban—preventing him from entering the area bounded by College, Beverley, Queen and Bathurst streets—will last for three years, the longest period allowed by law. Bennett has been battling a 20-year crack cocaine addiction but has been clean in recent months prior to his court date, attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings and volunteering at a community centre. Clearly, shoplifting is no longer perceived as mere shrinkage accounted for every year in the retail industry: while the neighbourhood ban may seem sensational, Judge William Bassel told the court he had considered ordering Bennett out of Toronto altogether.