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Teen gets prison for Xbox robbery

A Medford teen who was at the center of an April standoff has been sentenced to five years in prison after admitting he pulled a fake gun in the theft of an Xbox.

Brandon Michael Soares, 19, avoided a mandatory minimum sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree robbery Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court, admitting he took an Xbox One console advertised on Craigslist at the point of a black, spray-painted squirt gun, then sold the Xbox for $300.

At about 9 p.m. April 17 in the Medford YMCA parking lot, Soares pulled the fake weapon on the seller, a 30-year-old man, demanding the victim give up his game console and his phone. The victim complied and believed the weapon was real, but gave chase after complying with Soares' demands.

Soares, of the 200 block of North Ivy Street, was captured April 24 during a three-hour standoff at his residence, a house converted into apartments near the intersection of Fourth and Ivy streets. Soares had been hiding in the attic after Medford police posted his mugshot on social media earlier in the day. Police at one point tore into a neighbor's ceiling to find Soares.

Paul Moser, Soares' court-appointed defense lawyer, said his client robbed the man to support his drug habit. Soares said little during the hearing, and the victim didn't appear.

"It's a shame," Moser said. "He realizes that."

Robbery in the second-degree is a Measure 11 crime carrying a mandatory minimum 70-month sentence, but Moser said prosecutors agreed to take the case out of Measure 11 sentencing because Soares had no prior criminal history, he wasn't armed with a real weapon and because the victim's pursuit after Soares showed he wasn't in fear of imminent danger.

Circuit Judge Timothy Barnack sentenced Soares to the agreed-upon 70 months in prison outside Measure 11 sentencing, meaning Soares has the eligibility to be released earlier for good behavior. Though Soares won't be eligible for alternative incarceration programs, Barnack approved treatment programs at the Oregon Department of Corrections' discretion.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Brandon Soares