The case for all three defendants — Jasmine Vardigans, 20, Joshua Shargel, 21, Sarah Courtney, 19, and Russel Basques, 20,— was set in the South San Francisco Misdemeanor Court with Judge Donald Ayoob Tuesday for receipt of the restitution report. The court ordered the defendants to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $8,016.13 plus a 10 percent administrative fee.
Three of the four suspects arrested in connection with the burglary at the cultural arts center at Oddstad Park in December 2012 appeared in court last week, all three pleading guilty or "no contest," convicted by plea of misdemeanor burglary.
Jasmine Vardigans, 20, Joshua Shargel, 21, Sarah Courtney, 19, and Russel Basques, 20, were arrested and booked into the county jail for burglary, possession of stolen property and conspiracy after police responded to 1050 Crespi Drive on report of a burglary that had occurred in the building which houses the Pacifica Spindrift Players.
The manager of the local theater discovered a break in when she came to work at 9 a.m. the next day, noticing that electronic equipment, cash from the register and other small items were stolen.
Officers arrested two suspects at the scene who were found sleeping in a car in the parking lot and further police investigation led to the arrest of two additional suspects later in the day.
Three of the four accomplices admitted to the crime — Vardigans, a transient, and Courtney and Shargel, both Pacifica residents, who were all placed on two years court probation and 15 days county jail time in court last week, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
On March 26, the defendants will return to court to receive a restitution report from the probation department setting forth how much restitution is owed the victim. If the defendants agree with the number recommended, the court will simply order them to pay that amount of restitution. If the defendants contest the amount recommended, they are entitled to a hearing where the victim comes in and justifies the amount of restitution requested.
Defendants Shargel and Vardigans remain out of custody on $10,000 bail bonds. Defendant Courtney remains out of custody on supervised own recognizance, which means she does not have to post any monetary bail and is released without bail on the promise to the judge to appear at all court proceedings.
“In years gone by, persons who committed crimes such as this would receive harsher sentences, perhaps even four to eight months in jail or more,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. “But with the overcrowding in our jails and with the state requiring our jails to be used to punish many felons who would have gone to state prison in the past, the system has become more lenient and that is why the sentences imposed here seem so minimal. We still will hold them accountable and convict them for their crimes but the system is more lenient today, particularly with non-violent misdemeanors.”
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