Jewelry burglar gets 48-year prison sentence

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A Douglas County District Court judge showed no leniency to a man who showed no remorse for committing his 13th felony.

Prosecutors for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Thomas Hild’s criminal record speaks for itself. Prior to his latest indiscretion, Hild had been convicted of 12 felonies – forgery, third-degree burglary, repeated driving infractions, leaving the scene of an accident and escape among them – and has been in and out of prison since 1978.

Hild’s latest felony conviction – this one for a brazen, four-hour-long heist that netted $480,000 in jewelry - was the final straw for Douglas County District Court Judge Paul A. King, who referred to the defendant as a “career criminal” before handing down a 48-year prison sentence June 14.

Hild, 53, was arrested in May 2012 after the Parker Police Department identified him as one of three suspects in the burglary at Apex Jewelers two months earlier. Detective Penny VanDenBerg said Hild was recruited for his ability to drill through the wall of an adjacent vacant store and break into a safe using heavy duty construction tools. Hild’s alleged co-conspirators, Charles Williams and Daniel Delgado, face separate trials.

Laura Wilson, deputy district attorney, said the men would have gotten away with the crime if not for good detective work by VanDenBerg, who spotted Delgado on surveillance video going through a nearby McDonald’s drive-thru while the alleged burglary was taking place. VanDenBerg said Delgado was supposed to be the “look-out.”

Hild was found guilty on all eight charges he faced after a four-day jury trial in late February. Three of Hild’s relatives attended the June 14 sentencing hearing, in which prosecutors asked for consecutive sentences totaling 72 years behind bars. Wilson said the DA’s office was trying to make sure Hild would not become eligible for parole, regardless of his age.

“The defendant has been given every opportunity in the community for rehabilitation,” Wilson said. “Nothing seems to deter him from criminal acts.”

King said state law mandates concurrent sentences unless there are multiple victims.

Ida Reinhold, the only family member to speak on Hild’s behalf, said Hild had started his own business, bought a home and was living a “normal life” since getting out of prison.

“He is a good person,” Reinhold said.

While detailing his reasons for the 48-year sentence, King delivered a pointed response to her assertion, saying, “Good people do not commit 13 felonies.” King also admonished Hild for not taking responsibility for his actions and said incarcerating him was the “only way to keep the community safe.”

Hild’s defense attorney, Marques Ivey, said he believes the evidence was not enough to support the jury’s decision to find him guilty.

“I don’t think they proved it,” Ivey said, referring to prosecutors’ circumstantial case.

The judge granted Ivey’s request to find Hild indigent so he can immediately retain counsel to represent him in an appeal. Hild has 45 days to file a notice of appeal.

He was given 400 days of credit for time served. The amount of restitution will be determined at a later date. The jewels that were stolen have not been recovered.

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