Former TV sports anchor sentenced to more prison time for bank robberies

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg television sports anchor and college instructor who pleaded guilty to robbing banks in Saskatchewan and Alberta has been sentenced to more prison time.

Stephen Vogelsang was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months for two robberies he committed in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Oct. 19 and 20, 2017.

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The sentence is consecutive to the five years he was handed in April for bank robberies in Regina and Saskatoon prior to the Medicine Hat crimes.

As mitigating factors, Judge Derek Redmond cited Vogelsang's guilty pleas, which he said would conserve "scarce court resources."

Vogelsang pleaded guilty to the two robberies in April, just before he was to have a preliminary hearing.

Redmond also cited 11 character references Vogelsang received, "some totally unsolicited," which paint him as a "committed, caring professional" who suffered a lapse in judgment due to external circumstances.

Court heard the accused has attended counselling since 2004 and was diagnosed with depression in 2007.

But his circumstances grew even worse after he left his job at Red River College in Winnipeg to move with his then-wife to Nelson, British Columbia, where he couldn't find meaningful employment.

He returned to Winnipeg for work before getting a divorce.

Sinking deeper into depression and saddled with debt from his lengthy unemployment, Vogelsang decided to go on a bank-robbing spree, court heard during sentencing submissions in August.

His lawyer, Greg White, said the robberies were "the bottom of a seven-year downward spiral."

Chances of Vogelsang's rehabilitation are high, given his lack of a prior criminal record, Redmond concluded. (Medicine Hat News)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2019.

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