An 18-year-old Gardnerville man who admitted breaking into 18 vehicles and a garage with a juvenile accomplice was ordered Monday to serve 90 days in Douglas County Jail as part of probation for felony burglary.
Nathan Centeno faced up to 10 years in prison for the burglaries which netted him $171.99 in change, cigarettes and an electronics device.
District Judge Michael Gibbons suspended a three-year sentence and placed Centeno on probation for four years. He ordered Centeno to pay restitution.
Gibbons said he was motivated by Centeno's age, that he was a high school student, and the fact that the high school administration told Centeno he could still earn a diploma if he was on probation.
Centeno said the principal visited him in jail and told him he could return.
For that reason, Gibbons passed on sending Centeno - who has a juvenile record - to a regimental discipline program designed to keep youthful offenders out of prison.
None of the victims attended Monday's sentencing, but sent impact statements to the court.
Gibbons said Centeno's 15-year-old codefendant appeared before him in juvenile court and was placed on probation "with a slew of conditions."
Gibbons said the juvenile claimed the burglary spree was Centeno's idea, and the he didn't break into any vehicles, but did take a bicycle from a garage.
The two rode bicycles around Indian Hills targeting unlocked vehicles July 9-10.
Centeno read a statement to the judge in which he apologized and said he wanted to be the first in his family to earn a high school diploma.
"I finally understand why everyone is trying to help me," he said. "I want to turn my life around."
He said he was sorry for hurting the victims, and asked for another chance.
"I am very disappointed to see you here today," Gibbons said.
He referred to Centeno's prior appearances in juvenile court in January 2011 when he committed vehicle burglaries in the Gardnerville Ranchos with his younger brother.
In February, he served five days in jail for stealing $20 from a friend's mother who gave him a place to stay.
Gibbons said Centeno did not straighten out like his younger brother, and "now, you've led another person astray."
"You're not quite ready for prison yet, but you're awfully close," Gibbons said. "I don't know if it's sinking in on you or not. The court already tried China Spring, and you got back on drugs. Now you have a serious felony on your record. You need to think about that every day."
Gibbons ordered Centeno to stay away from the victims and abstain from drugs and alcohol during probation. He is subject to random search and seizure for controlled substances and stolen property.
He told Centeno to go back to school and earn his diploma.
"At your age, you're still in high school. The school is willing to give you a chance. I really don't want to see you here again," Gibbons said.