Couple gets probation in Wal-Mart theft

A Dayton couple who stole $1,000 in items while the wife worked as a Wal-Mart cashier was sentenced to probation Monday and ordered to stay out of the store for two years.

Jose Torres, 43, and his wife, Guadalupe, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit theft, a gross misdemeanor.

According to store personnel who caught Guadalupe Torres on videotape, she would ring up the goods at much less than their actual value.

They claimed the thefts began in July, 2006.

The day Torres was arrested in November, she reportedly scanned in $241.90 in items for which she charged her husband $17.

The couple apologized in court Monday and their lawyers pointed out they had no prior criminal records.

"I want to close this phase in my life," Jose Torres told District Judge Michael Gibbons. "It's very embarrassing. Here I am trying to develop a business. I'm here to try to take responsibility for what I did."

Guadalupe Torres' lawyer, Derrick Lopez, said his client was very embarrassed.

"She plans to work with her husband to open a restaurant," Lopez said. "I would be very surprised to ever see her in court again."

Gibbons placed the couple on two years probation and ordered $1,000 restitution be paid at $100 a month.

They also were ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

-- A 37-year-old Gardnerville man was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for felony driving under the influence.

District Judge Michael Gibbons told James N. Astor Jr. he must serve 12 months before he is eligible for parole and gave him credit for 47 days served in Douglas County Jail.

Astor is appealing the conviction on the grounds that the deputy who arrested him never saw him driving.

He claimed she acted solely on a report of a reckless driver. Astor was in a parking lot, intoxicated and at the wheel, when she made the arrest.

While awaiting sentencing, Astor's wife, Gina M. Harrison-Astor, 35, died Jan. 19 in a traffic accident.

James Astor had asked Monday to be released on bail pending the appeal, but he returned to court Monday afternoon and told Gibbons he wanted to begin serving his sentence.

Astor said his children were in the care of relatives.

While Astor was out on house arrest, he was arrested as a passenger with a blood-alcohol content of .254, more than three times the legal limit of .08 for driving and in violation of the terms of his release.

"He wants to stop drinking," Lopez said. "With Gina gone, he wants to be a good father to his children. It's a daily battle for him. The only thing he can say for sure is, 'Right now, I won't drink.'"


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