A Baker City man will spend the next 28 months in prison for taking liturgical objects valued at nearly $11,000 from the Catholic Church and for stealing miscellaneous items during car prowls in the Kirkway Drive area last month.

Judge Matt Shirtcliff sentenced Joshua Milton Thomas, 31, on March 9 in Baker County Circuit Court.

Thomas was charged with one count of aggravated first-degree theft, a Class B felony; six counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor; and 13 counts of attempted unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, a Class B misdemeanor. He also was cited on a charge of unlawful possession of heroin when he was taken into custody the night of Feb. 18.

At the March sentencing hearing, Thomas pleaded guilty to the first-degree aggravated theft charge involving the Catholic Church at 2235 First St., and to two counts of entering motor vehicles on Kirkway Drive and taking items from the vehicles as well.

Thomas will serve the 28-month prison term for taking two chalices, three gold plates and a silver and gold crucifix from the church.

The estimated value of all the items is $10,615.

Thomas will be eligible to be placed in an alternative incarceration program (AIP) only after serving 16 months of his sentence, court document state.

Thomas may be considered for release on post-prison supervision after successful completion of the AIP.

He was ordered to complete two years’ post-prison supervision upon release. If he violates terms of the post-prison supervision, he will be subject to sanctions, including additional prison time.

Other special conditions of his post-prison supervision include no contact with Kirkway Drive or the Catholic Church. And he was ordered to seek substance abuse treatment.

Imposition of sentencing was suspended on the two counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. Items valued at an estimated $600 were taken in the car prowls.

For those crimes, Thomas was placed on 48 months’ bench probation, again with special conditions of no contact with the victim locations and orders to seek substance abuse treatment.

All other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

A restitution hearing is set for 2 p.m. May 24 in Baker County Circuit Court. The extended period allows the District Attorney’s Office time to gather more exact restitution figures from all victims involved, said District Attorney Greg Baxter.

Thomas was represented by Baker City attorney Damien Yervasi.

Michael Spaulding, chief deputy district attorney, prosecuted the case.

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