By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 31-year-old man has been ordered to pay 11 people back the $16,615.28 worth of cash and merchandise he stole from them in separate incidents dating as far back as July last year.
Of that number, $3,353 was obtained while Ambrose Gibson went on a “housebreaking spree” over the last two weeks, something he was sentenced to four years in prison for yesterday.
Gibson, who by his own admission is a convicted rapist, must reimburse his 11 victims or face an additional six months in prison.
When arraigned before Magistrate Samuel McKinney yesterday afternoon, Gibson admitted to breaking into Alexis Gardiner’s home and stealing a silver HP laptop worth $600; a grey HP laptop worth $700; a Fossil watch worth $155; a Guess watch worth $140; a gold and silver chain worth $300; a Samsung cellphone worth $149 and $400 cash.
He further admitted to breaking into Stephen Bellot’s home between April 23 and 24 and stealing a 40-inch LG television worth $599. According to the facts, he later sold the television to an unknown individual.
Gibson further admitted to breaking into Sophie McKinney’s house between April 24 and 25 and stealing $170 cash. He also broke into Julianna Mortimer’s home on May 2 and stole a black handbag containing $40 and other personal items, as well as a Huawei cell phone worth $100.
Also sometime this month, he stole a Twin Stack 2HP air compressor worth $546.05; a table saw worth $685.75; a Black & Decker sander worth $90.55; one Dewalt compact router worth $237.95; a drill driver worth $273.89; an angle grinder worth $69.75; a circular saw worth $203.59; a jigsaw worth $105.09; three PVC air hoses worth $182.17; a pocket hole jig worth $221.19; and a nail gun worth $289.43 belonging to Cazzie Cooper.
Gibson, when arrested, said he sold Cooper’s merchandise to settle his outstanding bills.
Back on April 6, Gibson also stole six bundles of Ice and Water shields worth $602.11 and a Generac generator worth $1,764 belonging to Elvardo Perpall. And between April 29 and 30, Gibson also stole a foot spa tub worth $69.99; two area rugs worth $259.98; and a bicycle worth $644 from Navado Gray’s shed. When interviewed, Gibson admitted to stealing and later selling Gray’s merchandise, but said he didn’t know the names of those who bought them.
Between March 1-7, Gibson also stole a Stihl grass trimmer worth $419.95 from Lameiko Belle. On January 26, he also stole a grill worth $226; a double fryer worth $1,451.81; a gas tank worth $63 and a trimmer worth $187.09 from Cheryl Carey.
On July 23 of last year, Gibson stole a pressure washer worth $1,735.55; an angle grinder worth $119.99; three belt sanders worth $228.89 each; a six-inch disc sander worth $219.99; a nine-inch band saw worth $265.97; a Makita Laminate trimmer worth $171.35; a Makita variable speed jigsaw worth $148.50; a Makita circular saw worth $229.99; an 82 piece Dewalt Pro worth $90.95; a Brad nail and compressor combo worth $409.99; and a Makita belt sander with a dust bag worth $589.99 from Alfine Wallace.
When arrested and interviewed by police, Gibson said after he stole the items he placed them in some bushes, but when he returned to retrieve them they were no longer there.
Upon pleading guilty to the charges, and in response to a question posed to him by the magistrate, Gibson said his actions were the result of the “wrong set of company I was keeping.” He also noted that he’s a fisherman, but that crawfish season is closed, implying that funds were scarce.
In handing out his sentence, Magistrate McKinney took into consideration that he pled guilty at the first opportunity and did not waste the court’s time. However, the magistrate noted that all four of the houses he broke into were in the same general area, and that he likely caused “great concern” amongst the residents, who were likely fearful of leaving their homes unattended and just as worried about returning home to find some of their belongings were gone.
Gibson has the right to appeal his sentence to the Court of Appeal.