Judge sentences former Steamboat resident to one year in jail for theft


— For entering a neighbor's home and stealing 15 compact discs, a former Steamboat Springs man was sentenced to one year in jail because of his prior criminal history.

On Friday morning, 14th Judicial District Judge Joel S. Thompson ordered Bryan C. Sullins to serve one year in the Routt County Jail for the theft that occurred last spring.

Despite a recommendation from a prosecutor to give the 25-year-old man 90 days behind bars, Thompson ignored it because he said Sullins has an extensive history of disobeying the law.

"You have little regard for the rules and regulations society is to abide by," Thompson said. "You go out and do what you want. You have little regard for the law."

Sullins was arrested last July after he provided false information to a local pawn shop.

According to court records, Sullins pawned a black case containing 15 compact discs at Mr. Money Pawn Shop in March 2001.

Sullins fraudulently filled out a slip claiming he owned the case and the discs, which are collectively worth $150.

However, the case had been stolen earlier in the month from an unlocked residence in the 1300 block of Indian Trails. At the time of the burglary, Sullins lived next to the residence but later moved to Divide.

An arrest warrant was issued for Sullins after police found out he pawned the case. Police seized the black case and the CDs. Sullins later called the officer and claimed the black case was his.

Because of the incident, Sullins pleaded guilty to felony charges of first-degree criminal trespass and providing false information on a pawn slip. He also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft.

Sullins pleaded guilty to the charges because of a plea agreement negotiated by his attorney, Norm Townsend, and Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James.

Because of the plea agreement, Sullins was granted a two-year deferred sentence for the pawn slip charge. If he completes two years of supervised probation, which he was given for the trespass charge, the charge will be dismissed.

The only jail time Sullins could receive as part of the agreement is for the theft charge. The Routt County Probation Department recommended 90 days, but Thompson gave the maximum sentence of one year instead.

Townsend blamed his client's trouble on alcohol and asked for Thompson to give his client a 30-day jail sentence.

"He sees things that he wants, and when he is drunk he gives in to that temptation," Townsend said.

Townsend also asked for the jail sentence to allow his client to work during the construction season.

Sullins also asked for leniency.

"My alcoholism has really gotten the best of me," Sullins said. "I know I am a good person. I would like to ask for forgiveness. I would like to get on with my life."

Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James pushed for the 90-day jail sentence.

"You should not show the least bit of sympathy for stealing," St. James said to Thompson. "He should have to sit in jail and think about what every kindergartner knows. Stealing is wrong."

Before Thompson sentenced the man, he reviewed his past criminal conduct. Sullins' prior record includes a drunken-driving conviction and fishing without a license. A presentence report also revealed Sullins has continued to drink alcohol even though a court order prohibits it.

Thompson said the best chance to ensure Sullins can complete his probation is through a long period of time in jail.

"You need a long period of time to sober up and dry out," he said.

Sullins, who left the courtroom disappointed, was ordered by Thompson to start serving the sentence Friday evening.


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