Restaurant burglar sent to prison |

Restaurant burglar sent to prison

by Sheila Gardner


A 21-year-old Gardnerville man, who admitted burglarizing three Carson Valley restaurants, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in Nevada state prison.

District Judge Tod Young told Lee M. Lawson he must serve a minimum of 12 months before he is eligible for parole. He gave Lawson credit for 97 days in custody.

"You are going to survive this time in prison," Young said. "You've got to change your life, sir. When you feel desperate, it's not an excuse to make someone else's life desperate."

Lawson admitted breaking into Minden Meat and Deli, El Aguila Real and Lentine's in December. He was arrested after a video camera at Minden Meat and Deli recorded him from the back, including a distinctive backpack.

Deli owner Kevin Mary said Tuesday the burglary changed the way his family does business.

"That morning, when we found out we were broken into, it changes the way you act, think and work forever. Somebody is in your personal space, taking things," Mary said. "It creates havoc. Fortunately, we had a camera that ultimately got him captured. You don't want to go through this again."

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Attorney Derrick Lopez said Lawson was desperate when he committed the burglaries, but knows what he did was wrong.

"He never wants to be in jail again," Lopez said. "He recognizes what he did affected the community and the business owners. He didn't think about the others, but now has had time to think about how he affected other people."

He said his client, who appeared in court with traces of a black eye, was worried about his ability to defend himself in prison.

Lawson apologized to Mary.

"I am not making excuses for breaking in," Lawson said. "I hope you forgive me. I will spend time in prison if I have to. I had lost my job and I was desperate. I am sorry I ever came back to Nevada."

Young ordered Lawson to pay nearly $2,000 restitution to the three businesses when he is released from prison.

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