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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Cutlet cartel leader gets 3 years

Spokane's Hamburglar apparently has a drug problem.

Christopher M. Webber, 38, stole steaks from stores across Spokane as part of theft ring that hawked the stolen meat in black market deals with bars and taverns. He pleaded guilty to a slew of crimes today but avoided the state's recommended 73-month prison sentence after a judge ruled him a drug addict.

Webber qualified for the drug offender sentencing alternative, giving him three years in prison and three years of probation. He wouldn't have been on probation under the state's recommendation.

Spokane County Superior Judge Maryann Moreno cited the three years of supervision as a reason to impose the sentence.

Webber told Moreno he "more than enough deserved to go to prison" and said he'd been to drug rehab six times with no success.

Webber has been in Spokane County Jail since his arrest in late June. He was charged with leading organized crime, four counts of second-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree organized retail theft and one count of trafficking in stolen property.

As part of the plea deal approved Tuesday the state dismissed most serious charge, leading organized crime, which carries a minimum of about 12 years in prison.

Deputy Prosecutor R. Reese Sterrett told Moreno the crimes deserved a stiff sentence but "I couldn't escape the fact that there are folks who commit crimes like first-degree robbery" and get much less time. Sterrett said he's "uncertain" if other still could be charged in the theft ring "but we are certainly looking at that." Dana Beard was Webber's public defender.

Read a previous story on Webber here.

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