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By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | September 23, 1997
The trial of convicted car thief Christopher J. Peca was postponed yesterday after his attorney asked for more time because of additional charges against his client.J. Bernard McClellan also told Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure that choosing a jury would be difficult because of an extensive article about Peca, 21, that appeared in The Sun yesterday.The trial was rescheduled Nov. 5.Peca, who was released from prison on parole in December, after serving about two years for car theft, faces a total of 33 charges in Howard County Circuit Court.
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NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | December 9, 1997
For the crimes he committed in the first 20 years of his life, Christopher J. Peca was sent to prison yesterday for the next 20.Peca, 21, received the sentence in Howard Circuit Court yesterday after admitting he stole two cars, a man's wedding ring and gym bag and misused someone else's credit cards. All of these crimes were committed just months after the man who told police he could steal a car with a screwdriver convinced authorities that he was rehabilitated and was released early from prison.
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NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | May 15, 1997
A Columbia car thief -- whose reduced jail sentence last fall became fodder for campaign ads charging that Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure was soft on crime -- is out of jail and in trouble with the law again.Christopher J. Peca, 21, who was released from state prison just months ago, now faces charges of assault, stealing and setting fire to a vehicle, stealing two men's credit cards and using the cards to buy alcohol, sporting goods and jewelry.Last fall, Leasure reduced the jail sentence of Peca -- convicted of leading a Columbia car theft ring known as the Low Riders -- from eight to five years over prosecutors' objections.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | September 23, 1997
The trial of convicted car thief Christopher J. Peca was postponed yesterday after his attorney asked for more time because of additional charges against his client.J. Bernard McClellan also told Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure that choosing a jury would be difficult because of an extensive article about Peca, 21, that appeared in The Sun yesterday.The trial was rescheduled Nov. 5.Peca, who was released from prison on parole in December, after serving about two years for car theft, faces a total of 33 charges in Howard County Circuit Court.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | June 5, 1997
Howard County prosecutors dropped an assault charge against a convicted Columbia car thief yesterday -- a charge that was filed just a month after the man was released from prison.Assistant State's Attorney Thomas W. Rafter said he decided to drop the charge against Christopher James Peca, 21, because the alleged victim in the case moved to Florida and was unavailable to testify."It was unclear whether Mr. Peca's conduct rose to the level of an assault in this case," Rafter said.Two years ago, Peca was sent to prison for leading a band of car thieves -- known as "the Low Riders" -- that stole about 20 cars.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | January 10, 1995
A Columbia teen-ager who told police he could steal a car with just a screwdriver was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for leading a theft ring that took 20 vehicles last winter.Christopher James Peca, an 18-year-old member of a car club called the Low Riders, was given the sentence after pleading guilty to 12 theft counts in Howard Circuit Court.The prosecution contended that Peca and six other members of the Low Riders stole the vehicles, mostly four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokees and Chevrolet Blazers, from East Columbia from Dec. 25, 1993, to Jan. 3, 1994.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | December 22, 1994
The jury that hears the case next month of a Columbia teen-ager charged with stealing 12 vehicles last winter will likely get a lesson on how to swipe a car using just a screwdriver.At a Howard Circuit Court hearing yesterday, the prosecution was given permission to use a confession by Christopher James Peca, who told police how he and six other youths made off with four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokees and Chevrolet Blazers from East Columbia.Mr. Peca told Detective George Glorioso that all he needed to steal acar was a screwdriver.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | September 19, 1996
A Howard circuit judge has taken three years off the prison sentence of an Owen Brown village man who headed a car theft ring that stole more than 20 vehicles near his east Columbia home.Christopher James Peca, 20, formerly of the 9300 block of Afternoon Lane, originally was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 12 theft counts in Howard Circuit Court in January 1995. On Sept. 11, Judge Diane O. Leasure reduced the sentence to five years.In a hearing to request the reduced sentence, the defense presented Leasure with letters from Peca in which he cites a prison boot camp as having helped him."
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | March 6, 1994
A Columbia teen-ager, alleged to be the leader of an auto theft gang, will be prosecuted as an adult on charges that he stole 23 four-wheel-drive vehicles in December and January.The case against Christopher James Peca, 17, of the 9300 block of Afternoon Lane in Oakland Mills village, was transferred from juvenile court during a hearing Friday. He was expected to be indicted in Howard Circuit Court.Howard prosecutors say Mr. Peca has a history of teaching other youths how to steal vehicles.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | December 9, 1997
For the crimes he committed in the first 20 years of his life, Christopher J. Peca was sent to prison yesterday for the next 20.Peca, 21, received the sentence in Howard Circuit Court yesterday after admitting he stole two cars, a man's wedding ring and gym bag and misused someone else's credit cards. All of these crimes were committed just months after the man who told police he could steal a car with a screwdriver convinced authorities that he was rehabilitated and was released early from prison.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | September 22, 1997
In the four years since his crimes became serious enough to emerge from the anonymity of the juvenile system, Christopher J. Peca has racked up a criminal history that runs more than 80 computerized pages.But the 21-year-old former leader of a Columbia car theft ring has spent only about two years in prison while receiving probation and suspended sentences in other cases. His record illustrates the problems the criminal justice system has handling young offenders charged with serious but nonviolent property crimes.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | June 5, 1997
Howard County prosecutors dropped an assault charge against a convicted Columbia car thief yesterday -- a charge that was filed just a month after the man was released from prison.Assistant State's Attorney Thomas W. Rafter said he decided to drop the charge against Christopher James Peca, 21, because the alleged victim in the case moved to Florida and was unavailable to testify."It was unclear whether Mr. Peca's conduct rose to the level of an assault in this case," Rafter said.Two years ago, Peca was sent to prison for leading a band of car thieves -- known as "the Low Riders" -- that stole about 20 cars.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | May 15, 1997
A Columbia car thief -- whose reduced jail sentence last fall became fodder for campaign ads charging that Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure was soft on crime -- is out of jail and in trouble with the law again.Christopher J. Peca, 21, who was released from state prison just months ago, now faces charges of assault, stealing and setting fire to a vehicle, stealing two men's credit cards and using the cards to buy alcohol, sporting goods and jewelry.Last fall, Leasure reduced the jail sentence of Peca -- convicted of leading a Columbia car theft ring known as the Low Riders -- from eight to five years over prosecutors' objections.
NEWS
By Caitlin Francke and Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF | September 19, 1996
A Howard circuit judge has taken three years off the prison sentence of an Owen Brown village man who headed a car theft ring that stole more than 20 vehicles near his east Columbia home.Christopher James Peca, 20, formerly of the 9300 block of Afternoon Lane, originally was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 12 theft counts in Howard Circuit Court in January 1995. On Sept. 11, Judge Diane O. Leasure reduced the sentence to five years.In a hearing to request the reduced sentence, the defense presented Leasure with letters from Peca in which he cites a prison boot camp as having helped him."
NEWS
May 18, 1995
A Columbia teen-ager serving an eight-year prison term for leading a theft ring that stole 20 vehicles was given a suspended sentence yesterday for taking a delivery truck owned by his former employer.Christopher James Peca, 18, a member of the Low Riders club, received the suspended four-year sentence in Howard Circuit Court after pleading guilty to unauthorized use of a vehicle.Senior Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Murtha said the plea deal was worked out so that Peca would be eligible for the state Division of Correction's boot-camp program.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | January 10, 1995
A Columbia teen-ager who told police he could steal a car with just a screwdriver was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for leading a theft ring that took 20 vehicles last winter.Christopher James Peca, an 18-year-old member of a car club called the Low Riders, was given the sentence after pleading guilty to 12 theft counts in Howard Circuit Court.The prosecution contended that Peca and six other members of the Low Riders stole the vehicles, mostly four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokees and Chevrolet Blazers, from East Columbia from Dec. 25, 1993, to Jan. 3, 1994.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | November 15, 1994
Prosecutors were granted permission yesterday to use a police confession from an 18-year-old man alleged to be the leader of a theft ring that stole 20 four-wheel-drive vehicles last winter.Christopher James Peca of Columbia is to stand trial Jan. 9 in Howard Circuit Court on 96 charges related to the theft of 12 vehicles and the attempted theft of five others last December.The prosecution contends that Mr. Peca, of the 9300 block of Afternoon Lane, belonged to a car club called the Low Riders that stole the vehicles from East Columbia between Dec. 25 and Jan. 3.Some vehicles were taken on joy-rides to Lake Elkhorn in Columbia's Owen Brown village, where the participants would play "crash-up derby" and "bumper cars," police said.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer | December 22, 1994
The jury that hears the case next month of a Columbia teen-ager charged with stealing 12 vehicles last winter will likely get a lesson on how to swipe a car using just a screwdriver.At a Howard Circuit Court hearing yesterday, the prosecution was given permission to use a confession by Christopher James Peca, who told police how he and six other youths made off with four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokees and Chevrolet Blazers from East Columbia.Mr. Peca told Detective George Glorioso that all he needed to steal acar was a screwdriver.
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