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Couple sentenced for Isabella area thefts

A couple accused of several burglaries in the Isabella area in July have been sentenced to prison.

Christopher Alexander Gutierrez Jr., 30, of Hacienda Heights, Calif., was sentenced Monday, Dec. 3, as part of a plea deal in Lake County's 6th District Judicial Court to 21 months in prison for theft of a firearm, 33 months for felony second-degree burglary and 17 months for bringing stolen goods into the state.

On Nov. 30, Shelby Anne Vernell, 34, of Glenwood Springs, Colo., was sentenced to 15 months in prison for theft of a firearm in addition to a sentence of 28 months for felony second-degree burglary, also following a plea deal.

Gutierrez and Vernell were arrested July 18 after Lake County Deputy Ben Goutermont responded to a report of suspicious activity at a cabin on Jensen Trail in Isabella the day before.

The deputy found Vernell at a neighboring cabin, where she told Goutermont she and Gutierrez were staying there and it belonged to a relative, though she could not provide the relative's name. Goutermont also observed a stack of DVDs in the cabin, but the cabin did not appear to have electricity.

Goutermont followed up the next day with the cabin owner, who stated they had found 12 DVDs missing from the cabin, including "Harry and the Hendersons," "Bottle Shock" and "A River Runs Through It."

Goutermont was granted a search warrant for the neighboring cabin, where he found approximately 20 DVDs, including all three titles named by the cabin owner. Goutermont then arrested Vernell and Gutierrez.

While continuing to investigate, deputies found a stolen Ford Escape SUV with no license plates and a covered vehicle identification number. Inside the vehicle, deputies found a Remington Speedmaster model 552 rifle with .22 caliber ammunition, a trolling motor, chainsaw, gas-powered generator and several other items that matched a list of missing items.

Gutierrez and Vernell have active warrants in Colorado, but no word on extradition as of their sentencing hearings.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. 

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