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Two plead guilty in ATV, firearm thefts / June 09, 2014
Two defendants accused of stealing four-wheel ATVs and a firearm from Halifax County residences pleaded guilty to multiple charges Friday in Halifax County Circuit Court.

Robert Lee Moore of Crystal Hill, one of the defendants, pleaded guilty to seven counts of grand larceny, one count of larceny of a firearm, and one count of being a violent felon while attempting to possess a firearm. In an unrelated set of events, he pleaded guilty to felony eluding, vandalism, being a violent felon in possession of a firearm, and related traffic misdemeanors.

Moore received an active sentence of eight and a half years in prison on the convictions. He also was ordered to pay restitution to the victims, complete two years of supervised probation upon his release, and remain in good behavior for 20 years. Of his total prison sentence of 20 years, 11.5 years were suspended.

His accomplice in the ATV and gun thefts, Blake Carden Crews of Halifax, pleaded guilty to six grand larceny charges. He received a 12-month active jail sentence, with the remaining portion of his five-year sentence suspended on the condition of his payment of restitution, successful completion of two years supervised probation, and good behavior for five years after his release.

The thefts of the ATVs and firearm took place at different residences in Halifax County from Nov. 23, 2013 to Jan. 15 of this year.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Quackenbush Martin said Moore’s prison sentence is at the high end of state sentencing guidelines, while Crews received a jail stint at the low end of the guidelines — a reflection, she said, of the assistance that Crews provided in helping to obtain convictions.

“The co-defendant, Mr. Crews, was very cooperative with the prosecution of these matters,” Martin said in a prepared statement on the trial’s outcome. “Unlike Mr. Moore, Mr. Crews had very little criminal history prior to these events, and he made a full confession to law enforcement. He also he testified against Mr. Moore at the preliminary hearing of these matters and he was willing to testify against Mr. Moore at trial.

“If not for Mr. Crews’ cooperation, the Commonwealth risked not being able to prove all the cases against Mr. Moore, who had been convicted of crimes of theft before,” she continued.

The Commonwealth agreed to withdraw its prosecution of two charges against Crews, and he pleaded guilty to six counts of grand larceny.

In another case heard Friday in Circuit Court, Christopher Wilson Strange pleaded guilty to five counts of breaking and entering, one count of attempted breaking and entering, six counts of grand larceny, and six counts of vandalism.

Noted Quackenbush, “Mr. Strange was very cooperative in the investigation of these and other matters. Since his arrest, Mr. Strange aided the prosecution of other individuals in a breaking and entering in a neighboring county and an armed robbery in another neighboring county. His aid was pivotal in the investigation and prosecution of a matter involving the delivery of illegal drugs into the local jail in Halifax.”

Because of his cooperation, and considering his minimal prior criminal history, Strange received an active sentence of four years. The remainder of his 10 year sentence was suspended on the condition that he make payment of restitution to the victims, successfully complete two years supervised probation, and remain on good behavior for 10 years.

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