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Catalytic converter thief gets 4 years

A Douglas County man was sentenced Wednesday to more than four years in prison for a wave of catalytic converter thefts in Medford.

Ricky Farrell Kenneth Gibbons, 33, of Myrtle Creek, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court after pleading guilty to aggravated theft and criminal mischief, admitting that he damaged vehicles for precious metals in emissions control devices — and leaving owners with costly repair bills.

A witness reportedly caught Gibbons red-handed at 11:16 a.m. June 18 at a parking lot in the 1000 block of Biddle Road. Police stopped Gibbons nearby, and found 11 catalytic converters in his trunk, according to an earlier news report.

The thefts were fueled by Gibbons’ heroin addiction, according to police.

A grand jury Tuesday charged Gibbons with aggravated first-degree theft and nine counts of first-degree criminal mischief surrounding damage to vehicles that occurred June 3 through 18, according to an indictment filed in the case.

The criminal mischief charges — each involving damages valued at more than $1,000 — stemmed from “separate and distinct” thefts.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Alyssa Claseman sought an enhanced sentence Tuesday on grounds of “persistent involvement” and multiple victims and incidents.

On Wednesday, Gibbons pleaded guilty to the aggravated first-degree theft charge, and five counts of first-degree criminal mischief.

Judge Laura Cromwell sentenced Gibbons to 48 months in prison followed by two years of post-prison supervision. Cromwell authorized alternative incarceration programs if eligible.

Gibbons will also have to pay restitution, according to the sentencing brief. The amount to Gibbons’ victims will be determined at a later date.

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