Storage-building arsonist handed eight years in prison

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2003

The second member of a young crime team that burned down a Juneau self-storage facility in June will spend the better part of his 20s in state prison.

Cricensio Bagoyo, 23, was sentenced Wednesday in Juneau Superior Court to 12 years in prison with four years suspended and 10 years of probation. He also was ordered to pay restitution. He pleaded guilty in November to felony charges of second-degree arson and second-degree theft.

Felony charges of first-degree arson, second-degree theft, and a misdemeanor charge of possessing burglary tools were dropped as part of a plea agreement between assistant public defender Rob Meachum and District Attorney Rick Svobodny.

Bagoyo and Michael Blevins, 22, were accused of a short crime spree that began with a break-in at Gastineau Human Services, a nonprofit halfway house near Lemon Creek, where they stole more than $1,000 in cash and checks as well as several credit cards, according to court records.

The pair then went to the Juneau Self-Storage facility on Commercial Boulevard, where allegedly they stole a number of items and set the place ablaze to cover fingerprints they may have left at the scene, court records said. Both offenses occurred June 2.

Blevins was sentenced last week to seven and a half years in prison with three years suspended and three years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution. He also must receive psychiatric treatment while in prison.

Bagoyo and his accomplice have been lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center since their arrest in August. They will get credit for time served.

During his sentencing hearing, Bagoyo apologized to the community and especially the victims who lost mementos like family photos and to a man who lost irreplaceable Tlingit artifacts, Meachum said.

"He said he intended to do the best he could to pay people the money his crimes cost them," said Meachum. "He didn't say why he did it and he didn't comment on Mr. Blevins."

The fire, which caused an estimated $1 million in damage and endangered the lives of firefighters, destroyed the 280-unit storage building, according to court records.

Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks ordered Bagoyo to pay $831,805 in restitution, with $14,000 - the amount of insurance deductibles paid by victims - to be paid to the victims first.

Restitution originally was set at $878,638. But Assistant District Attorney Sue McLean said $38,000 reported by GHS to cover payroll checks stolen by Bagoyo and Blevins was not lost. The pair couldn't cash the checks, so that amount was deducted from the restitution.

Weeks and McLean recognized during Bagoyo's sentencing that the entire restitution may never be paid.

"You can't get blood from a turnip," McLean told the Empire. "But the judge ordered him to pay $200 a month while he is on probation. That's not unreasonable. He may have to work two jobs, but it's doable. We're not going to put someone in jail because they can't make a million dollars. ... Even still, the chances are real slim that all the restitution will ever be recovered."

Melanie Plenda can be reached

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