Man 'earns' prison with casino purse theft

Travis Connor Lee

Travis Connor Lee

A new California law that takes effect July 1 is already affecting the ability of Nevada to get criminal records and might have had the opposite of the desired effect.

The Clean Slate Act requires state officials to review arrest and convictions records and identify those that are required to be sealed.

While the act has yet to take effect, agencies that would be providing criminal records are busy preparing for compliance.

In the case of convicted purse thief Travis Connor Lee, 29, the lack of information available on his record prevented him from backing up his claims about his arrest record.

Prosecutor Chuck Odgers read off several violent felonies on Lee’s record from the National Crime Information Center that did not appear in the pre-sentence report prepared for sentencing.

When District Judge Tod Young asked why none of the information was included, a parole and probation officer said the recently passed law resulted in difficulties obtaining criminal histories from the state.

Lee was arrested Feb. 14 after he was identified as a person who took a purse left at a Stateline casino.

He was found with two credit cards from the purse, but the cash and phone were never recovered. He admitted in March to felony possession of a credit card without the owners permission.

Attorney Martin Hart argued in favor of a treatment program for Lee.

“I had a rough upbringing,” Lee said. “My parents kicked me out when I was 17. I’d like to make something of myself.”

Odgers opposed probation reading off the crimes listed in the database.

“The victim was at Lake Tahoe having a good time when her purse was stolen,” Prosecutor Chuck Odgers said. “None of the items were returned. Being 29 and having prior felonies is not OK. I don’t see any opportunity for rehabilitation. He’s earned prison time.”

Young agreed and sentenced Lee to 14-48 months in prison with 78 days counted as time served.

“I don’t know how I can trust a word you say,” Young said.

Lee was ordered to pay $2,180 in restitution.

“Public records should be publicly available,” Young said.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment