Posted 8 months ago
By Kevin Horn
29-year-old Thomas Wright, Jr. admitted to breaking into the Immanuel Lutheran Church and stealing over $1,500 and entering St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and taking a money bag containing cash and checks.
The felony crimes occurred between March 27 and April 1 of this year.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, the state did not pursue charging Wright as an habitual criminal, or three strikes law.
However, Box Butte County Attorney Kathleen Hutchinson told the court that while Wright went to the churches begging for money, he was also casing the churches to help plan his method of breaking into the buildings.
“This guy has been a colossal drain on Alliance,” she stated.
District Court Judge Travis O’Gorman stated that Wright’s pre-sentence investigation report revealed Wright had a record of 12 prior theft and burglaries.
“It’s not a matter of if you will commit another crime, but when,” the judge told Wright.
“You are a gang member, you have no employment, you have abused drugs and alcohol, and you are a threat to the public,” he added.
The judge ordered Wright to serve 8 to 10 years on each count consecutively, which means Wright will be eligible for parole in eight years. He was given credit for 136 days served in the Box Butte County Jail.