Teenager admits stealing from parked cars | RecordCourier.com

Teenager admits stealing from parked cars

by Scott Neuffer

An 18-year-old Gardnerville man may be heading to drug court after he admitted to stealing several items from parked cars in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

On Tuesday, Dustin Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen property, a category C felony, on the condition the district attorney’s office not oppose his petition to Western Regional Drug Court.

In exchange for the plea, the district attorney’s office dropped another count of burglary. Anderson faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for possession of stolen property, although successful completion of drug court would expunge the felony from his record.

According to court documents, Douglas County sheriff’s deputies arrested Anderson March 2 after one of his friends tried to return the stolen items to the victims.

Officers were dispatched to a house in the 800 block of Palisades Circle after a resident said he was approached by a young man who asked if a $1,500 camera belonged to him. He said the item belonged to his roommate who had found the interior of her vehicle in disarray with credit cards and other items strewn about, but didn’t think anything else was missing at the time.

Officers tracked down the man who tried to return the camera. He said he woke up at 5 a.m. March 2 and found Anderson sitting on a bed with a backpack containing a cell phone, iPod, the camera and other items. The friend said he tried to return the items because he didn’t want Anderson to get in trouble. He returned a cell phone to a woman who worked at Carson Valley Medical Center, and a $50 bag of change to her daughter.

“I hadn’t found a job, and I needed some money to take care of myself,” Anderson told District Court Judge Dave Gamble. “I totally disrespected other people’s property.”

Gamble questioned whether Anderson was a good candidate for drug court.

“I don’t send people to drug court that aren’t drug addicts,” he said. “I see drug court as a benefit. Why should I let you do that instead of sending you to prison?”

Anderson said he’d struggled with drug use in the past but believed he could change his habits.

“I’m pretty much over ruining my life,” he said. “I have people who care about me.”

“It’s important to me that people don’t front it, fake it or blow it off,” Gamble said of drug court. “That means I’ll probably send you to prison if you fail it.”

Gamble set sentencing for May 22 and ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed before ruling.