Second teen pleads guilty to vandalism

Sentence could include restitution for damages, jail time

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Thomas James Kober, 18, plead guilty to all charges stemming from the Aug. 10 break-ins of Moffat County High School and Sunset Elementary School, in which the vandalism to both schools exceeded $50,000 in damages.

Kober plead guilty Monday to two counts of second-degree burglary of a building and two counts of criminal mischief.

As in the case of the other defendant, Christopher Allan Sanchez, 18, who plead guilty to the same charges on July 9, Kober will be sentenced as a juvenile.

He could be sentenced to six months in jail, one year in CAPS (Correctional Alternative Placement Systems), or a long probationary sentence. Also, Kober will be have to pay restitution for the cost of repairing the damage to the two schools. The exact amount Kober will owe will be set at his Sept. 9 sentencing hearing. Sanchez will also be charged for restitution at his sentencing hearing, which is also Sept. 9.

"As in the Sanchez case, sentencing Kober as an adult was not a legal possibility," Deputy District Attorney David Waite said. "The defendants will have to pay back the cost of the everything the school lost out of pocket from the damages, as well as [be sentenced to] lengthy probation or CAPS. The schools lost a huge amount of money, upwards of $30,000, from the damages because of the large deductibles on their insurance policies."

Craig Police Department Detective Sgt. Henry Stoffel understands why the case was handled as it was, but is still unsatisfied.

"Although I find the plea agreement frustrating, I understand the limitations the DA faced in this case," Stoffel said. "The limits on how juvenile individuals who commit serious crimes, like [Kober and Sanchez], are handled by the system is an area that needs to be improved by legislative action.

"The DA was limited in the way he could handle this case, and in cases like these, the bargaining power of a district attorney should be greater, but that is something that can only be changed by legislation."

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