Serial Salina Business Burglar Gets Probation

By: Parrish Alleman Email
By: Parrish Alleman Email

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

One of the men convicted of more than a dozen business burglaries in Salina was sentenced Thursday. He won't be serving any prison time and both victims and the prosecutors say the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

Kansas judges have to sentence people using a grid that basically matches up the severity of the crime with the defendants criminal history. In this case, the defendant wasn't even eligible for prison time.

As the owner of Bike Tek, Shawn Jones has spent years helping people be better bicyclists. Six months ago his store was broken into for the first time since he's owned it.

"They broke into the back of the building and stole a couple bikes and some miscellaneous stuff,” he said.

Jones' business was one of dozens of business burglaries around Salina. Many of them were broken into several times.

In February, police caught two men in the act breaking into a veterinary clinic. They were able to link them to more than a dozen burglaries in Salina.

“We wanted to see justice happen, crime fit the punishment maybe,” Jones said.

One of the men arrested, Stephen Rowson was just sentenced and Jones doesn't think his punishment fits the crime.

"No, definitely not,” Rowson said.

Even though Rowson plead no contest to 13 felonies and five misdemeanors, according to the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines the maximum sentence Rowson could get is 28 months probation because he has a minimal criminal history.

"The sentencing guidelines were adopted in 1993 and there were a lot of good reasons for adopting them and this is just one of those cases where the guidelines fails the prosecution,” Saline County Attorney Ellen Mitchell said.

Stephen Rowson has been in the Saline County Jail since February 7th. The judge did order he serve 60 more days before he begins his probation and warned him the court would not be tolerant of any probation violations.

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