Man sentenced to jail in theft string

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WALLA WALLA — A man caught with stolen property from as many as 30 vehicle prowls was sentenced to 10 months in jail today.

Nicolas Almiron, 21, will also face possible deportation when he finishes his sentence in Walla Walla County Jail. Almiron is a native of Argentina.

In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Almiron pleaded guilty Monday to charges of first-degree theft, possession of an unlawful firearm, possession of stolen property and possession with intent to deliver marijuana.

The pleas were entered before Walla Walla County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Schacht, who set sentencing for today.

Almiron was arrested in August after an investigation by Walla Walla Police into several cases of fraud related to credit cards stolen from vehicles in Walla Walla and Umatilla counties, in addition to the Tri-Cities.

The investigation led to the search of Almiron’s home at 412 S. Eighth Ave. on Aug. 12. At the residence, police seized 115 stolen items from as many as 30 vehicle prowls around the area. The property was valued at more than $15,000.

Police also seized firearms, including an unlawful shotgun, and found several baggies of marijuana, packaging materials and a set of electronic scales.

At today’s sentencing, Almiron’s attorney, Julie Brown, said her client as an intelligent young man who had come to the U.S. with his father on a visitor’s visa, then stayed behind to attend high school and, later, community college.

Brown said Almiron’s involvement in crime were a complete surprise to his family and friends. “The is just, for everyone involved, shocking,” she said. “No one really understands why.”

Almiron himself apologized “for all the troubles I’ve caused … I’ve learned crime doesn’t pay.” Two other people who said they were his friends also spoke on his behalf.

Prior to sentencing, Schacht said that given the amount of stolen property and its value involved and the possible sentence, “you are getting a real deal here, Mr. Almiron.” He then ordered Almiron to serve 10 months on all four counts with credit for 117 days already served.

Almiron was also ordered to pay $16,272.91 in restitution and other costs, with further restitution to victims to be determined.

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