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Second suspect in El Sombrero burglary sentenced in Juneau court

Samuel Clark pleads to four misdemeanor charges

Posted: July 20, 2011 - 9:45pm

A second Juneau man involved in a theft of a safe from El Sombrero restaurant the morning of July 9, 2010 was sentenced in a change of plea hearing in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday.

Samuel Clark, 21, was given a composite sentence of 28 months with 22 suspended and six to serve by Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg.

Clark will have to pay more than $47,000 in restitution, though he is jointly responsible for some of that amount with others. Clark will also face three years of probation.

Clark pleaded guilty through attorney Julie Willoughby to first-degree criminal trespass and third-degree theft for the burglary at El Sombrero and two counts of second-degree attempted theft involving the Aug. 16, 2010, effort to steal guns belonging to a Juneau man. A burglary charge at The Observatory bookstore on Aug. 7, 2010, was dismissed but Clark admitted to his involvement and will pay restitution. The four charges are Class ‘A’ misdemeanors and each carried a potential of up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

District Attorney Dave Brower said the crimes, committed to get money for drugs, shocked the town.

“Juneau has 30,000 people,” he said. “When something like that happens it goes through the town. It is something that does not happen every day.”

He said Cary testified Clark and Lietz used the proceeds from the El Sombrero theft to buy $1,800 of oxycontin.

Willoughby said Clark had just turned 21 and his prior record included just two charges of being a minor consuming alcohol. She said Clark got into trouble while living out on his own for the first time with Lietz.

“He did have an oxy problem,” Willoughby said. “He realized that prior to ever being charged with a crime and he moved back in with his parents.

“The events do not define his character and I am going to ask the court not to let these events define his character.”

Willoughby said Clark’s goal is to become a miner. Willoughby noted the amount of restitution to be paid and asked for a suspended imposition of sentence and 1,000 hours of community work service.

“It is enough that his life will be impacted each and every day,” Willoughby said.

Patty Moser, wife of El Sombrero owner Fritz Moser, spoke as a victim. She said she blamed Clark more than the other two defendants, because of the close connection between her family and Clark’s.

“I cannot help but hold you more responsible,” she said. “You took the very security and safety that you got to grow up with and you took it away from us.”

Alexander Hoke, who owns the building that houses The Observatory bookstore, said there are human beings behind these actions. Hoke said his tenant is 80 years old and trying to make a living selling used books. She has been robbed six times in the past three months and the damage to his building escalated each time.

Clark said he sincerely apologized to all those affected by his actions and for the embarrassment and pain he caused his family.

“Again I want to say how deeply sorry I am for the pain I have caused to all,” Clark said. “I want to do whatever I can to possibly make this right. I hope the court will see that I am not a bad person, I just made bad decisions.”

Clark reports to Lemon Creek Correctional Center today. Lietz, also charged in the same indictment, is scheduled for a change of plea hearing today.

Cary was sentenced Feb. 23 to 56 months, 36 suspended and 20 to serve for his involvement in a series of forgeries, thefts and burglaries from family, friends, and local businesses, some of which are associated with Clark and Lietz.

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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