Theft suspect sentenced to 8 years

Steamboat Springs man stole 5 vehicles in 2006 and 2007

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A Steamboat Springs man was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison for the 2007 theft of three cars from Victory Motors of Steamboat and the 2006 thefts of a motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle from Action Motorsports.

Christopher Allen Ecker, 22, pleaded guilty to felony aggravated motor vehicle theft in connection with the thefts. He has remained in custody at Routt County Jail since his Dec. 28, 2007, arrest.

Victory Motors employees arrived at work the day after Christmas 2007 to find a broken window in the showroom and three vehicles missing from the garage and lot. Keys were missing for two other vehicles Ecker allegedly tried to take from the lot.

The five vehicles from Victory Motors were valued at around $100,000.

Ecker also was charged with stealing an ATV and motorcycle from Action Motorsports, now Planet Powersports, in 2006.

Ecker also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor assault charges for two fights that occurred since he has been in custody. Judge Shelley Hill also sentenced him to one year in jail on each charge, to be served concurrently with each other and the eight-year prison sentence.

Ecker requested the minimum sentence on the assault charges Tuesday, calling his actions "self-defense."

Other charges the defendant faced were dismissed as part of his plea agreement, Hill said Tuesday. Ecker originally was charged with eight felonies: five counts of aggravated motor vehicle theft, two counts of criminal attempt and one count of second-degree burglary.

Restitution figures have not been finalized in the case. All of the stolen vehicles were recovered.

Ecker previously was arrested Aug. 28, 2006, on suspicion of burglarizing a number of Steamboat Springs businesses after police received a tip that he was trying to sell stolen goods at an area campground. Police affidavits state that according to Ecker's FBI crime history, he has three separate arrests for motor vehicle theft in 2002, 2004 and 2005, two fugitive of justice charges, and one escape or attempted escape after arrested charge, all from California.

He was on parole at the time of his 2007 arrest.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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