Pair Sentenced To Prison For Fulton Thefts

OSWEGO, NY – The two defendants, Jack Lukens and Vickie Hughes, who were convicted Wednesday of stealing from two Fulton businesses were sentenced Thursday.

A jury found them guilty of fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny in connection with the theft of $1,899.80 worth of pet containment items from the Fulton Tractor Supply Company on May 31, 2008, and $834 worth of products from the Fulton Rite Aid store on June 6, 2008.

Both defendants have a substantial criminal history, with this being Lukens’ third felony conviction within 10 years, according to Assistant District Attorney Don Todd.

Lukens has also been convicted of either petit larceny or criminal possession of stolen property more than 30 times, Oswego County Court Judge Walter Hafner noted prior to imposing sentence.

Hughes was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison, the maximum she was eligible for on the grand larceny count, and an additional year for petit larceny.

Lukens also received the maximum, 2 to 4 years in state prison for grand larceny with an additional year for petit larceny.

Because Lukens received his second state prison sentence today, if he is convicted of a felony at any time for the rest of his life, he will be facing discretionary persistent felony offender status, Todd explained.

This means if Lukens is convicted of another felony, it would result in a sentence of between 15 years-to-life to 25 years-to-life, he added.

Hughes was sentenced to prison for the second time, but her record isn’t as extensive as Lukens’, the prosecutor pointed out.

Todd said his goal was to convict Lukens on the felony count so every day after he gets out of prison, he knows that if he gets in trouble again he could be back in prison for the rest of his life.

Prior to sentencing, Todd told Lukens that he should find “a new line of employment,” or if he was going to maintain the current one he should move to another state.

Lukens said he understood what Todd was saying. But added he really wasn’t a bad person; he just had a bad addiction to drugs and stole to support the habit.

An interesting part of the case was that the conviction was based largely on the admission of store security tapes, Todd said.

Additionally, on May 31, 2008, after the theft at the Fulton Tractor Supply Company, the defendants were caught on store security cameras allegedly stealing from a different Tractor Supply Company, this one in East Syracuse. This took place about 1.5 hours after the theft in Fulton.

Although it’s unusual to be able to introduce evidence of uncharged crimes in New York, there is what is known as the Molineux doctrine.  That doctrine provides that evidence of uncharged crimes can be utilized to show, among other things, the defendant’s intent, absence of mistake or the identity of the criminals, Todd explained.

“Additionally, in this case, I wanted to show it because only Lukens left the Oswego County stores pushing out the stolen items. In East Syracuse, Lukens distracted the only cashier while Hughes pushed the cart full of stolen items out the door,” he said. “I argued that this showed they were acting together and in concert while they were stealing in Oswego County.”