Man admits stealing $15,000 from hospitalized grandfather |

Man admits stealing $15,000 from hospitalized grandfather


A 19-year-old Minden man admitted Monday to taking $15,000 out of his grandfather’s bank account while the elderly man was hospitalized.

Rhys A. Stefancin-Whitney agreed to plead guilty to one count of felony theft in exchange for having other charges, including one for exploiting the elderly, dropped.

Under the agreement with prosecutors, they would recommend probation at sentencing on the condition Stefancin-Whitney spend six months in jail.

District Judge Tom Gregory made clear that the agreement between the state and defense doesn’t prevent him from sentencing Stefancin-Whitney to the maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, should he decide it’s necessary.

Defense attorney Melissa Rosenthal sought the release of her client on his own recognizance and asked Gregory to lift a no contact order. She said that Stefancin-Whitney couldn’t afford bail.

Gregory pointed out that the plea agreement specifically states that Stefancin-Whitney was to have no contact with the victim.

Prosecutor Matt Johnson said the last time Stefancin-Whitney was out of custody he ran up $500 in charges on the victim’s credit card for snowboard equipment.

He presented a letter indicating the victim didn’t want the order lifted. Gregory ordered that bail would stand at $15,000 bondable and that Stefancin-Whitney was to have no contact with the victim should he bail.

Sentencing was set for April 22.

■ A March 5 trial was vacated on Monday in the case of a California man who reportedly fired a pistol during an altercation at Stateline in August 2017.

Raul Villalvazoalcala, 35, admitted to charges of trafficking in cocaine and possession of a firearm by a known drug user.

The Aug. 26, 2017, incident started when Villalvazoalcala and his girlfriend got into an argument and someone stepped in. Villalvazoalcala allegedly revealed the weapon to the man and then pointed it at him on the way out of the casino.

Two drug store employees on break then saw Villalvazoalcala punching his girlfriend in the car and when they approached, Villalvazoalcala allegedly pulled the weapon and fired a single shot, which was overheard by a patrol deputy.

Villalvazoalcala surrendered to the deputy who found a handgun that had been reported stolen in the back seat along with 49.3 grams of cocaine.

Villalvazoalcala faces two prison terms of 1-6 years which could be imposed consecutively. Trafficking carries a maximum $50,000 fine. Sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 26.

■ A man who rammed a Douglas County Sheriff’s patrol car during a late-night Feb. 2 chase around Gardnerville admitted Tuesday to two felonies.

Steven E. Hall, 36, pleaded guilty to attempted eluding and possession of cocaine.

He faces a maximum of 1-6 years in prison on the eluding charge and 1-4 years on the drug charge at his April 23 sentencing. Each charge also carries a maximum $5,000 fine.