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March 4, 2021

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Vancouver man sentenced in burglaries, vehicle theft involving police shooting

Judge rejects request for prison time including sentencing alternative

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published:

A 42-year-old Vancouver man was sentenced Wednesday in Clark County Superior Court to five years and three months in prison for two separate criminal cases, one of which involved a police shooting.

Judge David Gregerson imposed the sentence against Craig D. Stewart, rejecting the defense’s request for prison time that included a drug-offender sentencing alternative, a program designed to provide chemical dependency treatment and community supervision for addicted offenders.

Gregerson said he was against the sentencing alternative due to his concern over Stewart’s lengthy criminal history.

“I don’t doubt that the drug abuse is there and influencing his actions,” the judge said, but Stewart’s crimes, dating back to 1998, show an indifference toward victimizing the community and his sophisticated criminality.

Stewart told Gregerson he was ready to address his behavior and move forward with his life, noting that treatment would help him. He asked the judge to reconsider the sentence after it had been handed down, but Gregerson declined.

In the case where a Vancouver police officer fired his weapon, Stewart pleaded guilty to amended charges of second-degree burglary, attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle and second-degree possession of stolen property. He pleaded guilty to the charges in October.

In another case, Stewart was sentenced on two counts of attempted residential burglary. That sentence will be served concurrently with the more serious case.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies tied Stewart to a burglary — during which a Vancouver police officer fired his weapon — through gas station video surveillance, a stolen vehicle found near his home and seized clothing, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Officers were dispatched at 12:06 a.m. Oct. 13, 2019, to a commercial alarm at 6714 N.E. 18th St. Responding officers found evidence of a burglary, and a man was seen inside the building, according to police.

The sheriff’s office reported that the suspect stole a Range Rover from inside the building. A garage bay door opened, and the SUV accelerated out, “nearly striking one of the officers on scene,” the sheriff’s office said.

Vancouver police Cpl. Roger Evans fired his gun at the suspect, who evaded arrest. Evans said in an interview with detectives that the suspect “violently accelerated the stolen Range Rover toward his location, and (he) felt the suspect was purposefully targeting him,” the affidavit says.

Evans was later found to be legally justified in his use of deadly force.

Detectives released photos and video taken at an AM-PM Mini-Market of a man whom they believed committed the burglary on 18th Street.

On Nov. 1, 2019, Vancouver police arrested Stewart for allegedly committing two burglaries in the area of Northeast Andresen Road and Evergreen Boulevard. An officer noted that Stewart looked like the man in the AM-PM photos, according to the affidavit.

Stewart woke up a married couple, who were sleeping in their Evergreen Highlands neighborhood home, when he shattered their sliding glass door, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The husband, Mitch Sott, yelled at the burglar as he ran from the property.

Stewart was located and arrested a short time later, court records say.

During the sentencing, Sott said he has struggled to sleep since the incident and asked the court to impose the maximum sentence.

“I think you should get him some kind of help, but at 42 years old, he should know the difference between right and wrong,” Sott said.

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