AUGUSTA — A Sidney man who stole a tailgate, machinery and dozens of tools from local contractors and construction sites over a 19-month period was sentenced Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Clinton U. Bates, 36, was ordered to spend 15 years in prison, with all but nine months suspended, and seven years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to multiple counts of theft by receiving stolen property and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, and one count of theft by deception.
The crimes occurred between June 2012 and March 2013 in Augusta, Manchester, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow.
Bates also was ordered to pay up to $65,225 in restitution.
“He believes that with his skills in car painting and auto body work that he will be able to pay this restitution,” said his attorney, Hank Hainke. “It obviously may take some time.”
Bates told the judge that he does not plan to have to return to court again.
“He thinks he can make it on probation,” Hainke said. “He felt he was going to be successful.”
Bates has been held in jail for about nine months and was expected to be released shortly.
The prosecutor and Hainke both recommended the sentence to Justice Joyce Wheeler.
“The idea is to give him an incentive to pay these people back and get him to work and straighten out his life,” Deputy District Attorney Fernand LaRochelle said Thursday.
According to affidavits filed with the court cases, Bates stole tools in central Maine, keeping some at various locations, selling some and pawning others.
A construction trailer and tools belonging to Top Notch Builders, for instance, was stolen Aug. 17, 2012, in Waterville, and found about six weeks later in Benton, after Bates apparently had sold it to another person. Some of the stolen items were recovered, as were items stolen in Augusta from Atlantic Building Contractors.
A codefendant in some of Bates’ theft cases, Joshua Dean Elliott, 32, of Winslow and Fairfield, pleaded guilty in late January to three counts of theft by receiving stolen property, among other charges, and was sentenced to nine months in jail.
Bates had previous convictions for theft as well. In 2004, Bates was sentenced to five years in prison, all suspended, and placed on four years’ probation after pleading guilty to burglary of a motor vehicle, theft by unauthorized taking and criminal conspiracy.
Bates was on probation for a 1997 theft when he committed those offenses and was ordered to serve two years of that sentence that previously had been suspended.