For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks announced that a Reno man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for having committed a series of vehicle thefts and burglaries between June and July of 2015. Dozens of victims across the community suffered loss or damage to recovered property vandalized by the defendant.
Ashton Eldorn Spohn, 22, was sentenced on five counts of Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, four counts of Burglary and one count of Grand Larceny of a Motor Vehicle to a term of 30 years in prison. Spohn pled guilty in October of this year and was sentenced Tuesday in Washoe County District Court by Judge Scott Freeman. Spohn received a maximum sentence of between 3 to 5 years for each of the counts. Four of the vehicle burglary counts were ordered by the court to run concurrent. Parole eligibility will begin after 8 years has been served.
The case against Spohn began in June, 2015 when the Washoe County Sheriff’s office began an investigation into reports of multiple vehicle thefts and burglaries that had occurred throughout Washoe County. In all cases, Spohn took advantage of unlocked doors and may have been encouraged by visible property inside the vehicles. Sheriff’s Office detectives were able to identify Spohn as a suspect in the case and on July 16, 2015 Spohn was stopped by Reno Police Patrol Officers. Spohn was arrested and this office subsequently filed formal criminal charges against him.
At sentencing Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Michael Bolenbaker argued that Spohn’s crime spree resulted in the loss of work tools and personal property for multiple victims. Many of the vehicles were located in severely damaged condition. DDA Bolenbaker added that Spohn even spray painted vulgar obscenities on the roof of one recovered vehicle.
The District Attorney’s Office is hoping that this case can serve as a reminder to the public to take steps to prevent becoming a victim of property crime. To date, this office has received over 220 vehicle thefts cases for prosecution, less than 20% of the average number of thefts reported each year for Washoe County. All three major law enforcement agencies clearance rates for this type of crime are significantly higher than state and national clearance rates. However, vehicle thieves are among the least likely to be brought to justice. Prosecutors in this office see patterns in cases received where defendants take advantage of easy targets. With this in mind, there are ways to prevent becoming a victim of vehicle theft.
- Keep doors locked and windows rolled up
- Do not leave valuables in view, particularly during this holiday shopping season
- Park in well-lit areas
- Do not leave your vehicle running unattended