Man Admits to Swiping Lotto Tickets from Stores

RIVERSIDE (CNS) - A probationer who stole lottery tickets from convenience stores throughout the Inland Empire pleaded guilty today to more than two dozen misdemeanor charges and was immediately sentenced to three years probation. 

Garry Thomas Gordon, 25, of Jurupa Valley was arrested last October following a Riverside police investigation. During a status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, he admitted one count each of theft of goods in excess of $400 and being in possession of a controlled substance, four counts of identity theft and 19 counts of petty theft.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Emma Smith certified the plea agreement and imposed the stipulated sentence, which in addition to probation includes serving six months in a sheriff's work release program and making restitution to his victims, in amounts to be determined by the Department of Probation.According to Riverside police Sgt. Pete Elliott, the first theft was reported last July, after which nearly a dozen other thefts occurred -- all involving Gordon.``The suspect would enter a convenience store and ask the clerk to retrieve a quantity of lottery tickets to purchase,'' Elliott said. 

``The suspect would then distract the clerk with a request to purchase items away from the counter, and when the clerk would turn to retrieve the items, the suspect would grab the tickets and flee.''Gordon redeemed several winning scratcher tickets at various locations, collecting nominal sums, before they were reported stolen, according to the sergeant.In addition to the Riverside metropolitan area, Gordon perpetrated the same offenses in San Bernardino County, according to Elliott.

Detectives were able to compile enough evidence to identify the defendant and serve a search warrant on Oct. 5 at his home in the 5900 block of Avenue Juan Bautista, where he was taken into custody without incident.According to court records, Gordon has a prior misdemeanor conviction for illegal entry resulting in property damage, for which he was sentenced to three years probation in September 2015.

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