A man and woman who did thousands of dollars worth of damage to a Crater Lake National Park "Iron Ranger" fee collection box have been sentenced to probation and community service.
John William Moeller of Eugene and Lindsey Lorraine Johnson of Grants Pass avoided short prison sentences because of progress they've shown in drug and alcohol rehabilitation in the months since they were caught on park surveillance video using pry tools and power tools in futile attempts to open the locked metal container last November.
At a sentencing hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Medford, District Judge Michael McShane ordered Moeller and Johnson to serve three years of probation and 40 hours of community service.
The pair were ordered to pay restitution of $2,243 to the national park for damage to the box and $100 to a single victim of credit-card theft whose information the pair fished out of the container.
During the hearing, Moeller's federal public defender Brian Butler said his client has been clean and sober for 10 months, will graduate from outpatient treatment next week, and works at Attune Foods in Springfield. Moeller is in line for a promotion with the company and is on track to reconnect with his children — two teenagers and a 1-year-old.
"This case has been an opportunity to turn his life around in many ways," Butler said.
Moeller apologized to the court, saying he is now "thinking more clearly."
"I regret what I've done," Moeller said.
Johnson works for a Circle K convenience store.
"It's the longest I've ever held a job, but I love it," she told McShane, adding that she's been clean since Feb. 1, and is still going to treatment though she's eligible to graduate. The federal case "really changed my life," she said.
"I was going downhill in life," Johnson said. "I just lost myself."
Moeller and Johnson were each sentenced to three years of probation and 40 hours community service. The pair pleaded guilty May 30 to conspiring to commit theft of government property and depredation of government property.
Moeller and Johnson were caught on video making making several failed attempts to take the collection box in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, first spending about 25 minutes attempting to drill holes into the top of the fee container, and later using a crowbar and a hammer, according to an affidavit filed by a park ranger. When those attempts failed, Moeller tried hitting it with his car.
A park ranger caught Moeller still trying to open the box the next morning while Johnson held a flashlight from the passenger seat. Fee envelopes were found strewn about Moeller's car.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.