JASON GATES, d/o/b 11-02-1985, of Merriam Woods, Missouri, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Mark Orr on Thursday, January 2, 2014, to twelve (12) years in prison for the class C felony of stealing, seven (7) years for the class D felony of resisting arrest, and seven (7) years for the class D felony of stealing, all pursuant to a plea agreement with the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office. Those sentences are to run concurrently with one another.

On November 8, 2013, Branson Police officers responded to the Branson Hills Parkway Walmart store to investigate a shoplifting incident. Upon arrival, the officers found Gates pushing a shopping cart full of merchandise through the store’s exit. When officers called to Gates to stop, Gates ran over 900 feet through the parking lot. Eventually, Gates was shot with a taser and detained. Inside the cart was over $500.00 worth of computer equipment, clothes, and a television.

Later in November, in a review of surveillance video, Walmart loss prevention officers observed Gates stealing a chain saw and a security system from the Branson Hills Parkway store. Branson officers took the video and investigated. Gates was eventually charged with the class D felony due to having multiple prior stealing convictions within the past ten (10) years – even though the value of the merchandise stolen was valued at a total of less than $500.00.

Gates was charged as a persistent felony offender, subjecting him to enhanced maximum sentences. Though a class C felony normally carries a maximum prison term of seven (7) years, Gates faced a maximum of fifteen (15) years, and, instead of four (4) years for a class D felony, Gates faced a maximum of seven (7) years. One other pending case against Gates was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.