Man sentenced for stealing car

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— Juan Martinez came to this country illegally to help support his wife and two kids who are in Mexico, but now the man will spend the next six months in the Routt County Jail.

Martinez, 30, was given the jail sentence Wednesday by Routt County Judge James Garrecht.

Martinez, who is from Mexico, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor aggravated motor vehicle theft stemming from a November incident.

On the evening of Nov. 18, Martinez stole a 1988 Subaru that was parked in front of El Rancho Nuevo, drove it to Fifth Street and then stole a purse from the vehicle. The car had been left unlocked with its engine running.

Martinez, who was working for a Utah construction company, was arrested a day later.

Initially, Martinez was charged with two felonies, first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree motor vehicle theft, and misdemeanor theft.

Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James and Martinez's lawyer, Ron Smith, worked out a plea agreement.

In return for dropping the felony charges, Martinez gave up his right for Garrecht to reconsider the jail sentence and agreed to pay $15 in restitution.

At the request of Smith, Garrecht did not fine Martinez as part of his sentence.

"He has no money," Smith said of his client, who needed an interpreter for the court proceeding. "He had been sending money back to his wife and two kids in Mexico."

Garrecht did order that Martinez pay about $140 in court costs.

"I'm not putting you on probation, imposing any public service or fine," Garrecht said. "You will have to do the jail sentence and that is it."

The 61 days Martinez has spent in the Routt County Jail will count toward the six-month sentence, Garrecht said.

The owner of the car told police she was was inside the restaurant for about 25 minutes, and when she came out, the car was gone.

The woman found the car parked around the corner on Fifth Street still idling. The woman then noticed her purse was missing from the vehicle. The purse contained a small amount of cash, credit cards and personal items.

The woman told police that when she walked into the restaurant, a group of men were leaving.

Police were able to determine the men who left were staying at the Alpiner Lodge, 424 Lincoln Ave.

Police went to the Alpiner Lodge the next day after the woman's husband found his wife's purse thrown in a trash container outside the lodge.

Officers were able to talk to Martinez through an interpreter the next day. When questioned by police, Martinez admitted to driving the vehicle and taking the purse.

Once Martinez serves the jail sentence, he will be turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and will be taken back to Mexico, Smith said.

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