MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A man prosecutors labeled a career criminal for repeatedly stealing from washing machine coin boxes in apartment buildings has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Ernest Baugh, 61, was sentenced to 120 months for two recent burglaries and has been charged with at least 14 burglaries since 1990, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
“This might look like using a sledge hammer to drive a nail, but Mr. Baugh’s career of crime has had a real impact on people,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.
According to the criminal complaint from a theft in February, Baugh entered an apartment building in Uptown and broke into a washing machine coin box with a vise grip, taking the quarters inside.
A surveillance video captured Baugh stealing the coins and his parole officer identified him to authorities.
An apartment owner, who owns more than 30 buildings, wrote an impact statement that was read in court, saying Baugh may have stolen a small amount of money, but repairing the machines was expensive and tenants feel less safe when a building is burglarized.