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Richmond man pleads guilty after van theft

A man from Richmond, Virginia, decided that he would not try to fight his criminal charges, instead, pleading guilty in a federal court. The 49-year-old man was recently accused of stealing a truck. However, this was not just any ordinary auto theft.

The truck was full of audiovisual equipment, which was going to be used by United States President Barak Obama and his team during an appearance in the area. The truck was located at a hotel in Henrico County, Virginia, when it was stolen. The equipment was emblazoned with the official presidential seal. The total value of the equipment and the rest of the van's contents totaled around $200,000.

Prosecutors pointed the finger at the man, saying he went on to sell a laptop and sold other pieces of equipment to pawn shops. Some of it was eventually recovered. They also said he boasted about the crime openly and, upon reviewing records of his cellphone usage, placed him near the scene of the crime.

The man was charged with theft of government property. When he is sentenced in April, he faces up to 10 years behind bars at a federal prison. However, both sides struck an agreement that will send him away for seven years.

Perhaps the man and his legal team decided that, with an overwhelming amount of evidence weighing against him, that the accused plead guilty in the case and bypass a jury trial. In such instances, defendants can usually receive a lighter sentence for their cooperation.

That seems to be true in this case, where the man was originally up against 10 years in prison, and received seven after pleading guilty.

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Richmond man pleads guilty to theft of Obama van," Frank Green, Jan. 10, 2013

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