Stranded far from home, robbery accused called police on himself

A Windsor man caught stranded outside a Sarnia coffee shop on a frigid January night saw Sarnia police officers pull into the parking lot.

But Cody Farrugia, who was out past his court-ordered curfew, didn’t run away or hide. Instead he confessed.

“I wasn’t caught or anything. I called them on myself because I knew I was in the wrong,” Farrugia said over Zoom from the Sarnia Jail to a city courtroom. “And I was cold, so I just wanted a place to be warm.”
Farrugia, 23, is facing charges in his hometown related to a convenience-store robbery, but was released on a recognizance as he awaits trial. It included a condition he stays home every night from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. unless there is a medical emergency.

Farrugia came to Sarnia with some friends on Jan. 13, but wound up stranded more than 100 kilometers from home. Aside from being uncomfortably cold, there was no medical emergency and no legitimate reason for Farrugia to be outside his house when police found him at the Confederation Street Tim Hortons around 1 a.m. the next morning.

“He told the officers right away who he was and that he was out past his curfew, was hoping to see if they could help him get back to Windsor,” defense lawyer Patricia Brown said. “That didn’t happen. He was arrested instead.”

Farrugia has been in jail since.

“I shouldn’t have never left Windsor in the first place,” he said to Justice Anne McFadyen. “That was foolish of me to do.”

Farrugia, about to turn 24, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to comply with a release order. It was his first breach, but he did have an “unenviable” criminal record featuring three armed-robbery convictions from 2018 and spent a “significant” amount of time in jail, the court heard.

The then-20-year-old was initially facing six counts of robbery and six counts of wearing a mask or disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence linked to multiple knife-wielding incidents at convenience stores in Windsor’s east end.

As for the curfew coffee shop conviction, the Crown asked for 30 to 60 days in jail, less pre-sentence custody. Brown argued her client should be in a time-served position after getting credit for 27 days in pre-sentence custody.

“He should not have been in the circumstances that he was in. He’s certainly learned his lesson,” she said.

McFadyen said time-served was appropriate. He was ordered to be released from the Sarnia Jail unless there was a remand for his arrest in Windsor.

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