Series of burglaries nets Olivehurst man 10 years in prison
An Olivehurst man received a decade-long prison term Monday for a series of drug-driven burglaries earlier this year, but at least one victim believes Robert Virgil Hastings got off light.
"The judicial system sucks," Robert J. Martin, Jr., said following Monday's proceedings in Yuba County Superior Court. "I think he should go away for at least 50 years."
Hastings, 26, pleaded guilty in June to 12 counts of first-degree burglary and a single count of receiving stolen property.
Yuba County sheriff's detectives linked Hastings to at least 15 home burglaries in Linda and Olivehurst earlier this year, but he was only charged with 12.
Hastings agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. Prosecutors cut his time behind bars from 28 years to 10 years and ordered him to pay several thousand dollars in restitution to the victims.
Under the half-time prison credit system, Hastings could be back on the streets in five years.
"I just don't feel like that's enough because he committed so many crimes," Martin said in court.
Martin was the only one of Hastings' victims to appear in court.
Judge Julia L. Scrogin sympathized and agreed with Martin when he said Hastings would "probably never ever have a job."
"That's a good observation," Scrogin replied. "There's a very good argument that (the sentence) should be longer, but there are many times that we are not able to do that."
Deputy Yuba County District Attorney Shiloh Sorbello noted each of Hasting's convictions is a "strike" offense.
"He swallowed 12 strikes, which essentially means he'll either walk the straight-and-narrow or go away for 25 to life, if he doesn't," Sorbello said.
Sorbello said Hastings cooperated with investigators, even to the point of confessing to burglaries that could not have been proven otherwise.
That was of little comfort to Martin.
"He'll forget all about this, but I live with this every day when I lock my door to go to work," Martin said.
Martin's Linda home was burglarized in February. Hastings smashed in the back door and stole several including jewelry, cash and miscellaneous items.
Martin said he has since purchased a home-security system, a safe and a guard dog.
Hastings was arrested Feb. 13 in the 5900 block of Garden Avenue and had several pieces of women's jewelry in his pockets.
"We have a drug addict who was stealing to get his fix and took advantage of Yuba County residents by breaking in and stealing whatever he could," Sorbello said.
Deputies have recovered more than $5,000 in stolen property, including Martin's.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.