A warrant was issued in Moose Jaw Provincial Court on Thursday for the arrest of two out of five Romanians who were accused of robbing a local restaurant. 

Toronto lawyer Michael Czuma said he lost contact with Constantin Marin and Geani Costache and he had reason to believe the men returned to Romania. 

Judge Brian Hendrickson permitted Czuma to withdraw as counsel and issued a bench warrant for their arrest. 

Czuma appeared via a video conference call with two of the other co-accused, Florica Fardi and Stelian Grancea. In a plea deal, they pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000 and received 12-month conditional discharges. This means they will be on probation for 12 months and, if the conditions are followed, they will not have a criminal record. 

All other charges against Fardi and Grancea were withdrawn by the Crown. 

Crown prosecutor Rob Parker said, according to a witness statement, on July 23 at around 7 p.m. four people, one woman and three men, entered into a restaurant on the 100 block of Fairford Street West. 

The statement said the group asked to be seated near the kitchen and not by the window. The witness then said they tried to walk into the back towards the office but the server told them they could not go back there and asked them to return to their seats. 

Parker said about 15 minutes later another man in a light-coloured vest entered the restaurant, used the washroom and entered the back office and took money. All five then ran to a car across the street. 

The vehicle was pulled over westbound outside of Moose Jaw. Numerous currencies as well as paper and receipts taken from the restaurant were found in the vehicle. 

“Though the Crown is not proceeding on charges relating to the currency in the car, both of these individuals signed a release that they are relinquishing claim to any currency found in the vehicle,” Parker said. 

Parker added the Fardi and Grancea were pleading guilty to their role of distracting the business owner so that the man who arrived late could rob the restaurant. 

Parker said it was an appropriate sentence because Fardi and Grancea had no previous record, they pleaded guilty early to an offence that could have been difficult for the Crown to prove, they each spent several days in custody before posting cash bail, and the cash they relinquished was more than what was taken from the restaurant so they may have given up cash that was lawfully in their possession. 

According to a police press release at the time, officers found $12,700 in various currencies in their vehicle, which was seized by police. 

Czuma said Fardi and Grancea are a married couple that came to Canada in August of 2022 and have made refugee claims. Because they live on welfare and have limited funds, he asked for the victim surcharge to be waived. 

Judge Brian Hendrickson followed the joint submission and sentenced them to a 12-month conditional discharge and waived the victim surcharge fee. The conditions include keeping the peace and being of good behaviour, appearing before court when required and notifying the court or probation officer in advance of changing names or addresses or change in employment. 

Livu Nicolae Lacatus was also co-accused in the case and previously had his charges stayed by the Crown prosecutors.