7-year sentence for man who stole presidential audio gear

April 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

RICHMOND, Va., April 11 (UPI) -- A judge in Virginia has sentenced a man to seven years in prison for stealing a truck loaded with gear used in public appearances by President Barack Obama.

Eric Brown, 49, of Richmond, pleaded guilty to theft of government property for stealing a truck that held $200,000 worth of audiovisual equipment, a podium and a presidential seal in October 2011 from outside the Courtyard Marriott in Glen Allen, Va.

The sentence is twice that provided for under federal sentencing guidelines, the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch reported Thursday. The newspaper said Brown and his attorney, David Lett, agreed to the longer sentence in exchange for agreements by authorities in other jurisdictions -- including Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties -- not to prosecute Brown for 14 other truck thefts.

"This is a pretty serious, one-man car theft ring," said U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr., noting that Brown has 36 convictions on his criminal record.

"Mr. Brown is a threat to anybody with a vehicle," Gibney said, "the only way to stop that, apparently, is to send him to prison."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roderick C. Young told Gibney authorities in Stafford County have yet to agree not to prosecute Brown for crimes in which he is suspected, the newspaper reported.

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