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State v. Gibson

Court of Appeals of Utah

August 3, 2017

State of Utah, Appellee,
v.
Dylan Devon Gibson, Appellant.

         Third District Court, West Jordan Department The Honorable Bruce C. Lubeck No. 141400554

          Alexandra S. McCallum and Wesley J. Howard, Attorneys for Appellant.

          Sean D. Reyes and William M. Hains, Attorneys for Appellee.

          Judge Kate A. Toomey authored this Opinion, in which Judges Stephen L. Roth and Michele M. Christiansen concurred. [1]

          TOOMEY, Judge.

         ¶1 Dylan Devon Gibson pleaded guilty to theft by receiving stolen property, a third degree felony. In connection with the offense, the district court ordered Gibson to pay $13, 000 in restitution to Rocky Mountain Power (RMP).[2] Gibson appeals, arguing the restitution award is not legally justified. We agree and therefore reverse and remand.

         ¶2 Early in the morning on February 17, 2014, an unknown person cut through the fence of an RMP substation and stole approximately 200 feet of copper ground wire and accompanying brass fittings. Later that day, RMP reported the theft and damage to the police. The following day, Gibson sold the same length of copper wire and brass fittings to Utah Metal Works, a scrap metal recycler, for $65. Suspicious of the transaction, a Utah Metal Works employee contacted the West Jordan Police Department. The police investigated the wire and fittings, photographed the materials, and sent them to RMP for its review.

         ¶3 Three RMP employees viewed the images and determined the wire and fittings sold to Utah Metal Works were indeed the same wire and fittings that were stolen from RMP's substation on February 17. The wire was painted gray, RMP's standard practice for decreasing the resale value of copper wire. In addition, the length and size of the wire sold to Utah Metal Works were identical to the wire stolen from RMP; the number of fittings also matched.

         ¶4 Gibson was arrested and charged with one count of theft by receiving stolen property, a third degree felony. At the time of his arrest, Gibson was riding a bike with a set of bolt cutters used as a makeshift seat. Gibson claimed that a friend had given him the bolt cutters and the wire and fittings. He admitted he sold the wire and fittings to Utah Metal Works but denied having anything to do with the initial theft from RMP's substation. Consistent with this statement, Gibson pleaded guilty based on the following facts:

On or about February 18, 2014, in Salt Lake County, [Gibson] sold several pieces of copper wiring and fittings to a scrap dealer. [Gibson] had reason to believe the items, valued at less than $500.00, had been stolen. Within the previous ten years, [Gibson] has twice been convicted of enhancing offenses.

         In his plea agreement, Gibson admitted to the following elements:

1) On or about February 18, 2014
2) in Salt Lake ...

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