A 61-year-old man involved in repeatedly stealing from washing machine coin boxes in apartment buildings has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and labeled a career criminal.
Ernest Baugh was sentenced to 120 months for two recent burglaries committed in January 2016 and last February. He has been charged with at least 14 burglaries since 1990 and possibly as many as 26 since the 1970s, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.
“This might look like using a sledgehammer to drive a nail, but Mr. Baugh’s career of crime has had a real impact on people,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. “We and the rest of our partners in the criminal justice system have tried every possible alternative to get him to mend his ways, but he has stubbornly continued to break into apartment buildings and steal. He won’t have the opportunity to do that anymore until he is at least 67 years old”, he added.
According to the criminal complaint from the February case, Baugh entered the laundry room of an apartment building located in Uptown Minneapolis and used a vise grip to break into the coin box on a washing machine and took the quarters.
A surveillance video captured a man committing the crime and Baugh’s parole officer had no difficulty identifying Baugh as the burglar due to his repeated involvement in such crimes.
In court, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Diane Krenz read impact statement from two individuals. One victim, who owns more than 30 apartment buildings, said that although the amount of money Baugh stole was small, the expense of the repairs to the machines was significant and tenants don’t feel safe when a theft occurs where they live.
Judge Bransford told Baugh after verdict that she hoped the long prison sentence would get him to finally change his ways.