Man who stole painkillers from homes gets eight years probation | AspenTimes.com

Man who stole painkillers from homes gets eight years probation

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A man caught burglarizing Aspen homes for prescription painkillers was sentenced to eight years of probation and time in a community corrections center in Glenwood Springs.

Jeffrey Lee Kentz, 47, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary with the intended theft of a controlled substance. He was arrested in March after an Aspen man found Kentz in his apartment and called police.

According to police reports, Kentz would knock on doors in residential neighborhoods and ask occupants if they had called for maintenance work. If no one was home, Kentz would try to open the door and if it was unlocked, he would look for prescription painkillers to steal.

He told police he took up to 12 pills of hydrocodon, a painkiller, every day during the height of his addiction. Police believe Kentz may have burglarized more than 30 homes in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Although a presentence report from the probation office recommended that Kentz be sentenced to eight years in prison, both the prosecutor and his attorney said they would not recommend such a harsh punishment. The probation office’s recommendation was based on this incident being Kentz’s second felony conviction.

He was arrested in Glenwood Springs in 2001 on similar charges, and received a deferred sentence for fraud and deceit in obtaining prescription drugs a few years before.

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But prosecutor Lawson Wills told the court that in the past, Kentz has done well during periods of intense supervision and probation. He was on probation during the most recent series of burglaries in the Aspen area due to a conviction in Glenwood Springs, but the scrutiny he received from probation officers had been relaxed substantially.

“He has even done well since he was arrested,” Wills said. “When he’s closely watched he can do this.”

Wills recommended intensive probation through the Garfield County Community Corrections facility, adding Kentz needs structure in order to resist his substance abuse problems.

Kentz’s attorney, Jawn Ross, told the court a prison term would not help her client with his problems of addiction and compulsion, and that since his arrest he has enrolled in counseling programs and maintained his sobriety.

“I had no intention of harming people, but I harmed my family, my friends and the community,” Kentz told the judge. “I’ve struggled with addiction for a long time, and I would like to offer an apology … but I need time to show I can make things right.”

Judge James Boyd of the 9th District Court sentenced Kentz to the intensive supervision of the community corrections facility. Kentz must check into the facility tomorrow by 5 p.m.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]

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