crime

A 19- and 20-year-old pleaded guilty Tuesday to a rash of breaking and entering vehicles in April.

Alexander City residents Caleb Rodriguez, 19, and Vantavious Westbrook, 20, both of Alexander City were denied youthful offender status by Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Steve Perryman, but the pair entered negotiated plea deals to serve 24 months of supervised probation and pay restitution.

Rodriguez was charged with nearly 20 criminal counts varying from breaking and entering a vehicle to first-degree theft to fourth-degree theft.

Rodriguez’s attorney Derrick Blythe said Rodriguez’s mother moved him away from the area as a child when he was getting into trouble.

“He stayed out of trouble,” Blythe said. “When he came back and got a job, he reconnected with some bad influences.”

Rodriguez’s mother and grandmother were in court supporting him.

Westbrook’s attorney Angela Hill said her client had no parental support growing up.

“He has an extreme juvenile record,” Hill said. “When a child is fending for themselves since 8 years old, it sets the stage.”

Westbrook had two sisters in court supporting him.

Both Rodriguez and Westbrook apologized for their actions.

“I apologize,” Rodriguez said. “Thank you sir. I just want to get out and do right.”

Westbrook said, “I want to apologize.”

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to three counts of breaking and entering a vehicle, three counts of first-degree theft and seven counts of fourth-degree theft.

Westbrook pleaded guilty to three counts of breaking and entering a vehicle, three counts of third-degree theft and one count of fourth-degree theft.

Both were sentenced to 36 months in prison but will be allowed to serve the time on 24 months of probation meaning if they get into trouble, they will serve 36 months in prison. They will have to also pay restitution in all cases they were charged in. For Rodriguez that is 17 cases and and Westbrook is not far behind with 14 cases.

Incident reports and statements from the Alexander City Police Department said the pair broke into numerous vehicles in April breaking glass in many of them, stealing a car that was recovered in Coosa County and stealing guns, jewelry and other items in the West End and Parrish Hill neighborhoods. The pair was seen on surveillance footage at homes where the vehicles were parked.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.