Man who burgled Colo. chief receives 6 years, boot camp

Sue Lindsay, Rocky Mountain News

Copyright 2006 Denver Publishing Company

A man who burglarized Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman's home was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday, but the sentence included a recommendation for boot camp that could lead to his release in December.

Peter Lewis, 21, was linked to a Nov. 8 burglary of the police chief's southeast Denver home by a fingerprint found on a 5-gallon water jug full of about $200 in coins. A laptop computer, a Blackberry cell phone and a lockbox containing a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun were also stolen.

Lewis and another man broke into the house, which was empty at the time, through a back door. Lewis contended he just helped load items into a vehicle.

He asked the court to give him a break, promising to turn his life around.

"I realize I made a big mistake," Lewis said. "It has affected the community by making people feel unsafe. I know what I did was wrong. If you give me a chance, I will prove myself a good person and show that I can do things right in this community. I'm not a bad man. I want to show I can do right as a man."

Lewis said he had attended the Denver School of the Arts for three months and showed the judge several of his drawings.

"You're obviously very talented," Denver District Judge Christina Habas said.

Habas imposed the six-year prison sentence but with a recommendation that Lewis be sent to boot camp. If he does well there and graduates in November, the judge said she would be inclined to reduce the sentence and set a hearing in December to do so.

Lewis was charged with two counts of second-degree burglary involving two residences. He pleaded guilty to one count involving Whitman's home.

This is his first felony conviction. He has a record as a juvenile and a pending case in Arapahoe County.

Habas warned Lewis, "You're on the brink here. You can fall or you can take the bridge. It's up to you." 
lindsays@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5181; Headline p.1A - 6 YEARS FOR BURGLARIZING POLICE CHIEF / 'I will prove myself a good person.'; Related color photo p.1A
Photo, Peter Lewis told the judge that he wants to turn his life around.
April 19, 2006

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