Burglar sentenced in theft of safe, cash

Feb 15 2012 - 12:04am

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Hogge
Hogge

FARMINGTON -- The victim of a safe robbery still feels vulnerable in his West Bountiful home, even though police say those who were responsible have been caught.

"Every time I hear a noise or try to sleep, I feel like I have to look over my shoulder," Gary Turley said at Steven Kent Hogge's sentencing hearing Tuesday in 2nd District Court.

Turley said besides not feeling safe in his own home, he is worried about going out in the community because, "I feel like one of these monsters might be following me to 'shut me up.' "

The safe Turley kept in his garage was stolen Sept. 1. Inside it was cash, which the self-employed man had stashed for several years, along with a collection of coins, passports -- for himself and his daughters -- birth certificates, spare keys and foreign currency he had collected.

Following an investigation that lasted several weeks, police arrested Joshua Cameron Watts, a brother-in-law of Turley's daughter, and Wayne Jerry Clark, a cousin of Watts. Hogge is a friend of Watts.

"Try to imagine the betrayal I feel knowing it was my daughter's husband's family who did this," Turley said in court.

Hogge, 41, of Murray, was sentenced to six months in Davis County Jail, three years' probation with Adult Probation & Parole and a $1,000 fine. Restitution has been left open until the other two cases -- for Watts and Clark -- have been resolved.

Hogge pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to third-degree felony attempted burglary. He was originally charged with two second-degree felonies, burglary and theft.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors had agreed to recommend probation for Hogge.

Judge David Connors suspended a sentence of up to five years in Utah State Prison in lieu of jail and probation.

But Connors said, "Frankly, I don't understand how in the world this was pleaded down to a third-degree felony. This was a home invasion where you and others stole more than $200,000."

Connors said he could not sentence Hogge to serve no jail time, even though that was the agreement between prosecutors and Hogge's defense attorney, Mark E. Arnold.

Deputy Davis County Attorney Steve Major said Hogge had "confessed everything to us. He gave us a detailed statement on how it happened and who was involved. Mr. Hogge was willing to testify, if necessary, knowing the personal risk he was taking."

Arnold said his client did not at the time understand the ramifications of what he did, but does now and has tried to make as much restitution as possible.

But Turley had hoped Hogge would get a stiffer sentence.

"At least the judge gave him something. He should have gone to prison," he said after the hearing.

Watts, 19, entered a guilty plea to second-degree felony theft in 2nd District Court on Feb. 7. A sentencing hearing is March 20.

Clark, 24, is charged with second-degree felony theft and second-degree felony burglary. He has a court hearing set for Tuesday.

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