Teen sentenced for gold coin theft

Marcus R. Ybarra, 18, of Hood River, was sentenced last week for his role in stealing $16,526 of gold coins from a Post Canyon residence.

One of his three co-defendants, a juvenile, has already been brought to court. Nationwide warrants have been issued for the remaining two suspects, Jose Jesus Vasquez, 19, and Ezequiel Cervantes, 18, who have fled the area.

Ybarra pled guilty on Nov. 14 to first degree burglary and was ordered by Judge Donald Hull to serve 45 days in jail, followed by 160 hours of community service and enrollment in a theft school counseling program. He was also directed to pay restitution to Jeff and Stacy Houtz for one-fourth the value of the Krugerrands that he and his friends took from their home on March 31.

"You need to get the message that you can't be stealing from other people, it's just not going to cut it," said Hull, who also ordered Ybarra to make a court appearance each month to report on his progress.

"My goal is to have you pay for your crime against society and make sure you're successful," said Hull.

According to police reports, Ybarra and his three accomplices entered the unoccupied Houtz residence last spring and carried the family's safe out of the basement. They then transported the vault up Post Canyon where they pried it open and emptied the contents.

Hood River District Attorney John Sewell said a Portland pawn shop owner later identified Ybarra as one of the suspect's from a yearbook photo and his involvement in the crime was confirmed by the juvenile perpetrator during his confession.

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