President Barack Obama's teleprompter was stolen prior to a speech in Henrico County, Va., in 2011, along with a number of other crucial speech apparati including his official podium and loudspeakers.
"If I had to sum up [his] character, it would be that he's a thief," U.S. District Judge John Gibney said of Eric Brown at his sentencing hearing. Brown, 49, of Richmond, Va., pled guilty to the charges against him, as part of a plea deal where the "serial criminal" would serve 7 years instead of the usual 3 for theft of Federal property. Judge Gibney allowed Eric Brown to serve the sentence in Richmond, in an agreement reached by the adjacent counties of Chesterfield to the south and Hanover to the north, where Brown is also wanted on similar car thefts and other offenses.
Eric Brown, after serving time in Henrico County will still have to likely face a judge in Stafford County, near Washington, D.C. for similar offenses committed there. Officials in Stafford chose not to join the plea bargain alongside their southerly neighbors.
Obama's teleprompter thief has a lengthy rap sheet, stretching over 30 years, during which he was convicted at least 36 times for offenses ranging from grand theft auto to drug possession and identity crimes.
Eric Brown allegedly targeted the president's Ford F-series vehicle because he considered the F-350 and F-450 easier to steal. Brown's theft of the Democratic president's teleprompter did not appear to be politically motivated. The truck containing the audio equipment Brown stole did not have official White House markings on it when Brown took it from a Richmond-area hotel parking lot. Some of the missing equipment showed up in Maryland pawn shops, where it was later recovered.
In court, Eric Brown apologized for the thefts, after admitting, "Man, I got that truck. I don't do no playing."