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Man sentenced to prison for looting evacuated home during South Obenchain Fire

A man accused of breaking into an evacuated home during the South Obenchain Fire has been convicted and sentenced.

Posted: Nov 6, 2020 4:22 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — A man accused of breaking into an evacuated home during the South Obenchain Fire has been convicted and sentenced to prison, the Jackson County District Attorney's Office announced on Friday.

On September 11, a witness reported seeing two men "acting suspiciously" in a Shady Cove neighborhood that was under a Level 3 evacuation order due to the encroaching South Obenchain Fire. Another witness reported that the men a truck full of items, the DA's office said.

Deputies found the two men and saw the truck full of items "some of which had the victim's name on them." One of the officers reportedly knew the victim, and was able to confirm that she had evacuated the area and did not know either of the men.

The DA's office estimated that the property stolen from the victim's home totaled at least $10,000.

One of the men, 32-year-old Christopher Stegeman, entered a guilty plea on Friday to Burglary in the First Degree, and a plea of no contest to Aggravated Theft in the First Degree.

Judge Lorenzo Mejia sentenced Stegeman to 34 months in state prison, with three years of post-prison supervision and restitution.

Stegeman's conviction is the latest in a series related to looting in the wake of the September 8 fires and evacuations. At the beginning of October, a woman received prison time for her role in looting another evacuated home in the Shady Cove area. Two men were sentenced on Tuesday for looting-related charges from the Almeda Fire evacuation zone.

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