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District court judge to burglar: ‘Good luck’

Fermin Villareal, 25, was sentenced in District Court Tuesday for his involvement in a rash of burglaries last summer, as well as for failing to appear for his original sentencing date in January.

In November, Villareal pleaded guilty to one count of class-four felony burglary and one count of class-two misdemeanor theft. A failure to appear charge, a class-four felony, was added in January.

Villareal was given 30 days jail (14 days of which he served in January following his arrest for failing to appear), two years probation, alcohol and drug treatment, was ordered to stay out of Pagosa Springs (with the exception of probation requirements), 100 hours of useful public service, and was ordered to not contact his codefendant in the burglaries, Allan Vanness.

The sentence order also includes $4,008.62 in restitution.

The sentence was for the November plea deal and included a sanction for the January charge.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Villareal’s attorney, Christopher Trimble, noted that the probation department had concerns over Villareal’s ability to complete a term of probation.

Trimble added, though, that Villareal had spent nearly four months in jail — a time he called a “turning point” for Villareal in dealing with the loss of his father.

Trimble also stated that Villareal missed his previous sentencing date because he was taking care of his sick grandmother.

Deputy District Attorney Alex Lowe echoed Trimble’s statement about probation concerns, stating that all of Villareal’s criminal history was recent, meaning he would require close supervision.

Lowe also noted that the burglary charge is Villareal’s first felony conviction.

Statements from both attorneys indicated that Villareal took a lesser role in the burglaries than his codefendant.

During his time to speak, Villareal stated that he was putting his life back on track, to which District Court Judge Gregory Lyman responded that he wanted Villareal to have a “good life” and be a “free man.”

“I’ve just been really down with my Pops,” Villareal said.

With that, Lyman approved the sentencing order, with Villareal slated to return to jail on April 3 to serve his remaining 14 days.

“Fermin, I don’t want to see you again,” Lyman said. “Good luck.”

Before the plea deal, Villareal faced charges that included three counts of second-degree burglary for the burglaries of a local veterinary clinic, The Buck Stops Here and a medical marijuana facility. The charges were class four felonies. Additionally, Villareal faced three counts of theft, each a class two misdemeanor.

Last summer, the Pagosa Springs Police Department and Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office worked together to arrest two separate pairs of men in connection with a rash of burglaries in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County that took place between March and June.

Both sets of arrests took place in the early morning of June 30.

Items recovered during the execution of a search warrant shortly after midnight on June 30 were linked to burglaries at The Buck Stops Here, located in Aspen Springs, Good Earth Meds and The Outfitter.

As the search proceeded, some burglary suspects were questioned, with one arrested.

Vanness, 19, was arrested at the house following the search warrant and Villareal was later arrested at an apartment on South 9th Street.

Vanness and Villareal were suspected in the burglaries of the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center, Wolf Creek Anglers (burglarized twice at the time of the arrest), The Lift, Appraisal Services, Inc., the Pagosa Veterinary Clinic, The Buck Stops Here, Good Earth Meds and in one vehicle theft, Valdez said.

Vanness was sentenced in December for his involvement and, per his plea deal and sentencing, served no additional jail time (he had already served over 90 days), but is serving three years of probation, 100 hours of useful community service, and will pay full restitution for two different criminal cases, totaling just under $6,000.

randi@pagosasun.com

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