Ambrocio NuÃ±ez Estrada, 45, pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge and was sentenced by District Judge Paul R. McLimans on Monday.
Estrada's crimes against Kmart appear to be part of a pattern of behavior, rather than an isolated incident, McLimans said after reviewing the defendant's criminal history. The judge said Estrada appeared to have a propensity toward "basic dishonesty, committing property crimes and stealing from others," as well as entering the country illegally.
McLimans said the incident was "not only a crime, but shameful behavior on your part. And therefore, the aspect of punishment is a serious consideration in this case," McLimans said.
Estrada stole an estimated $15,000 from Kmart, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite. Waite had recommended a four-year sentence in the case, which was the same length of time recommended by the probation department in its investigation report.
Estrada's attorney, Sheryl Uhlmann, asked the court to limit the sentence to two years. She said defendants who will be deported often are not paroled as soon as other prisoners.
"Four years is longer than necessary to punish Mr. Estrada for his culpability in this case," Uhlmann said. Estrada was ordered to pay only $247 in restitution to Kmart.
Waite said Estrada's actions cost Kmart a lot more than the restitution amount. But Kmart reclaimed a significant portion of the items that were stolen, Uhlmann said.
When the defendant addressed the court, he said only one sentence.
"What I want to tell you is that I apologize for what I did," Estrada said through an interpreter.
Estrada was arrested Nov. 25 after a loss-prevention manager at Kmart contacted police about Estrada's activities. Kmart obtained videotape evidence of the thefts, according to police.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.