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home : news : news   May 24, 2016

7/11/2014 11:59:00 PM
Seven stolen guns and 20-plus break-ins later ...

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA — He stole seven guns, broke into two garages and more than 20 cars. Yet 18-year-old Austin McAdams dodged prison.

McAdams of La Salle was fortunate insofar as most of his rap sheet was accumulated while he still was a minor, leaving him only to answer for the garage burglaries in which the guns were stolen. That was enough to get last-chance probation plus 90 days in jail at his Friday sentencing hearing.

When offered a chance to speak, McAdams rose and tearfully told Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. that he sees now “how horrible” his actions were.

“I realize I deserve to be punished and I know what I did was wrong,” McAdams said, “but I hope the court will have mercy on me.”

McAdams had pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary, a Class 2 felony carrying 3-7 years, stemming from the pair of Utica break-ins during which firearms were stolen. Prosecutors agreed to recommend 4 years’ felony probation, as this was McAdams’ first adult felony conviction, and did not oppose a request for court-supervised drug treatment.

Left unsettled until Friday was whether McAdams would do jail time, as well.

Assistant La Salle County state’s attorney Matt Kidder asked for 180 days, citing the theft of guns — “aggravating in itself,” Kidder argued — and an Oglesby police interview in which McAdams admitted breaking into, and taking small items from, nearly two dozen cars in Oglesby in September 2012.

Defense attorney Doug Kramarsic urged Ryan to let McAdams continue working and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Once assured the guns were recovered, Ryan cut the state’s request for jail time in half.

With good behavior, and two days’ credit for time served, McAdams can be out in 43 days. He reports to La Salle County Jail late next week.

“He’s making some efforts (at rehabilitation) the court will not ignore,” the judge ruled.

Utica police developed McAdams and 21-year-old Anthony Lance as suspects in the disappearance of the guns, several of which were found in the trunk of Lance’s car.

As with McAdams, Lance had a juvenile record but no adult criminal history and also avoided prison.

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