Boys sentenced for car burglaries |

Boys sentenced for car burglaries

Michael Schneider

Five boys ranging in age from 13 to 15 years old appeared Monday before Judge Michael Gibbons for disposition on charges of burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Brian Hilliard, 13, and William Garand, 15, were placed on formal probation and ordered to perform work hours, undergo search and seizure including random drug testing, participate in counseling, the wilderness program, the Aspen program, write a 1,000-word essay, and pay restitution.

Eric Hilliard, 15, Adam Suschena, 15, and Daniel Chaney, 14, had the same disposition as the other boys, but were given a suspended commitment to Elko for stealing a greater quantity of items and participating in a greater number of vehicle burglaries in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

The boys were held responsible, joint and several, for restitution in the case, with Brian Hilliard ordered to pay $1,182, Eric Hilliard ordered to pay $1,416.95, Suschena ordered to pay $2,076.80, Chaney ordered to pay $2,461.53, and Garand ordered to pay $494.78.

At a May 12 detention hearing, the boys, who were arrested May 6, appeared before Gibbons to ask that they be released into their parents’ custody. All five boys spent approximately one week in the detention center in Carson City.

At a May 22 court appearance, the boys admitted stealing an estimated $5,000 in items from vehicles including CDs, CD players, head phones, radar detectors, flash lights, umbrellas, planners, a brief case, binoculars, pagers, wallets, cash, radios, and glasses.

One victim was present in the courtroom Monday and told the court that in addition to valuable items stolen, other items, such as pictures, were taken.

“I’m just fearful this could turn into something ‘cool’ that’s not good for the Carson Valley,” the victim said, telling the court some items had an emotional value.

Gibbons expressed concern with each boy’s grades. He ordered attendance at school for all the boys with no unexcused absences or tardies permitted as a condition of probation.

Gibbons was especially critical of Eric Hilliard, telling the boy he should be looking out for his younger brother and not getting him involved in trouble.

The court was also critical of Suschena and Chaney whom Gibbons said were most culpable in the crimes.

“He’ll be on his way if we see him again,” said Deputy District Attorney Derrick Lopez of Suschena and an impending trip to Elko should he return as a defendant.

Despite being labeled as most culpable, Chaney’s attorney Terri Steik Roeser said her client wasn’t actually involved in all the burglaries as he originally told investigators. She said Chaney, when faced with a myriad of questions on various burglaries, admitted to everything about which police questioned him.

However, Roeser said she was unable to prove any of this due in part to the fact that investigators didn’t tape record the interviews with the boys.

“I think you’re a good kid,” Gibbons told Chaney. “You’ve got a lot of potential here despite the fact that you committed crimes that would have sent you to prison if you were an adult.

“The court will not hesitate to send you to Elko. Be careful.”

Another boy, Michael Anthony Barnes, 16, will appear before Judge Dave Gamble, Department One on July 8 in a related matter.

Investigators originally said they suspected Barnes, a student at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School with the other boys, in the burglaries because they’d heard he had been seen with a cellular phone.

Barnes was cleared of involvement in the case when it was learned the phone belonged to his grandparents.

However, during the interview, an altercation between Barnes and investigators allegedly took place.

Barnes was charged with battery on a public officer and disorderly conduct.

Barnes, who plans to deny the charges, said he was assaulted by an investigator.

Minden attorney Patrick Gilbert was appointed to represent Barnes.