Man pleads guilty to theft charges

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— A 32-year-old Steamboat Springs man pleaded guilty to multiple charges stemming from thefts of two sport utility vehicles within a week in July.

On Friday afternoon, Michael Pope pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated motor vehicle theft, violation of a bail bond condition, third-degree assault, two counts of driving under the influence and disorderly conduct.

Deputy District Attorney Charles Lance dismissed numerous charges in return for the guilty pleas. In return for the dismissed charges, Pope has agreed to serve two years behind bars.

Thompson has accepted the plea conditionally. He has ordered a presentence investigation, which will show whether Pope has criminal history, before he accepts the plea agreement, which was negotiated between Lance and Pope's attorney, Ken Miller.

Although the punishment for the charges amounts to more than two years in jail, Lance said he is recommending the minimum jail sentence because Pope has cooperated.

Pope "has shared important information with the District Attorney's office," said Lance, who would not elaborate further.

Thompson has scheduled to sentence Pope at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 25.

Miller is requesting Thompson consider placing Pope in a community corrections program rather than prison.

"You are going to do two years locked up somewhere," Thompson said to Pope. "It could be prison, community corrections or a combination of both."

Pope was arrested in July after he stole two Jeep Cherokees in a 10-day span.

In the early morning hours of July 10, Steamboat Springs Police attempted to stop a red Jeep Cherokee as it was traveling on Old Fish Creek Falls Road. Pope had stole the SUV from Mount Werner Lodge.

A pursuit ensued, and an intoxicated Pope lost control of the stolen SUV at the intersection of Pine and Third streets, court records show. Pope tried to flee on foot but was arrested after he was found hiding in a flowerbed in the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue.

Because of the plea agreement, Lance dismissed charges of first-degree criminal trespass, theft, eluding, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, driving with an expired license, disregard of a stop sign and speeding.

Pope was booked into the Routt County Jail but was released July 18 because prosecutors failed to file charges within 72 hours of his arrest.

In the early morning hours of July 19, an intoxicated Pope was arrested a second time. This time, Pope stole a dark-colored 1998 Jeep Cherokee and attempted to elude police during a high-speed chase on U.S. 40.

Pope was arrested on foot by police officers in the 3100 block of Chinook Lane.

For this incident, Lance agreed to dismiss charges first-degree criminal trespass, vehicular eluding, violation of a restraining order and driving without a license.

Pope pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct because he threw a bowl of tomato soup on another inmate at the Routt County Jail the evening of Aug. 20. The third-degree assault charge stems from a May fight.

Since his arrest, Pope has been unable to post a $50,000 bond.

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