A man accused of numerous thefts in Cache Valley was sentenced to jail and probation on Monday.
Hector Lousie Rojas, 27, had 11 pending cases with the 1st District Court largely composed of second-degree theft, third-degree theft and third-degree burglary charges among others. He pleaded guilty in October to charges in nine cases; several charges and two cases were dismissed.
During his appearance before the court, Rojas apologized to the court and the victims in the cases. He also acknowledged a substance use problem and asked the court for an opportunity for treatment.
Defense attorney Mike McGinnis argued that addressing Rojas’ substance use problem would be more beneficial — for the community and Rojas himself — than a prison sentence.
“Mr. Rojas is not going to learn anything in prison,” McGinnis told the court.
Cache County prosecutor Griffin Hazard argued Rojas be sent to prison based on his “extensive criminal history,’’ as well as the nature of the charges and the number of cases with different victims.
“Frankly, the defendant has left a wake of victims,” Hazard said.
Hazard agreed Rojas should receive treatment but should do so while serving a sentence at the Utah State Prison.
Judge Angela Fonnesbeck said cases like these — with aggravating circumstances and restitution — are a little ironic. It’s difficult for defendants to make good on restitution while serving time in prison.
Fonnesbeck sentenced Rojas to 180 days in jail with credit for 94 days service and a term of probation. After the remainder of Rojas’ days in jail are served, Fonnesbeck said he will participate in a treatment program.
“This is it,” Fonnesbeck said. “One chance.”
After sentencing, a hearing was set to determine restitution in the cases.
“There’s going to be a lot of restitution,” McGinnis told the court.
Probable cause affidavits filed with the court state Rojas burglarized a local recycling business in July, stealing tools and other equipment valued at over $30,000.
Other affidavits state Rojas committed several thefts over several months. Rojas stole two ATVs — one from North Logan and one from a barn in Benson — and painted the ATVs to avoid police attention. Rojas also stole several hand and power tools and other pieces of equipment from various locations.
Rojas was arrested and booked into the Cache County Jail on Sept. 10, after deputies responded to a stolen UPS truck in Amalga. Rojas was found walking in a field in possession of keys to the UPS truck and a U-Haul truck. Financial cards from burglarized vehicles along with methamphetamine were found in a backpack that allegedly belonged to Rojas.