The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 14, 2012

Judge imposes shock incarceration on tornado burglar

By Jeff Lehr
news@joplinglobe.com

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The former owner of a motorcycle and scooter shop convinced a judge on Friday to assess the burglar who ripped off his business the night of the Joplin tornado some shock time in prison.

Circuit Judge David Mouton sentenced Jake A. Busby, 27, at a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court to two concurrent seven-year terms on convictions for second-degree burglary and theft.

The judge sentenced the defendant under a state shock-incarceration program, meaning he must serve 120 days in prison before he can be brought back before the judge for possible placement on probation.

The probation and parole office had recommended in a sentencing-assessment report that Busby, who has no other felony convictions, receive a suspended sentence and community-based punishment. But Shane Smith, former owner of Smith Family Powersports, asked in a victim-impact statement that the judge consider shock incarceration instead for the defendant.

Busby broke in to the shop at 2201 E. Seventh St. the night of May 22, 2011, and stole several motorcycles, scooters and tools.

“In the course of one night, you destroyed our business,” Smith told Busby at the hearing.

About $20,000 worth of property was taken in the break-in, and little was recovered, Smith said. When his insurance covered just $3,000 of the loss, he was forced to lay off employees and close the shop. Smith told the court that Busby has shown no remorse and instead harassed his family with restraining orders in the year since the crime.

Busby apologized to the Smiths when he took the witness stand at the hearing.

“I wasn’t even thinking that night,” he said.

He had just lost his job, his wife was pregnant and he was worried about supporting her and his son, he said.

“I wish I could take it back,” Busby said. “I wish I could smack myself in the face.”

John Nicholas, assistant prosecutor, said the amount of restitution the defendant would owe if the court were to place him on probation would be $17,300.

“I have serious concerns about this defendant’s ability to pay (that),” Nicholas said.

The judge decided that the defendant should receive shock-incarceration time and that he would address the matter of restitution if or when he eventually is granted probation.

 

Guilty plea

Jake Busby pleaded guilty in July to burglary and theft in a plea agreement that dropped three other counts of theft that he was facing in the break-in at Smith Family Powersports.