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Two O.C. men sentenced to prison for trying to steal beer from FBI agent's garage [Updated]

Two Orange County men have been sentenced to two years in prison for breaking into the garage of an FBI agent, officials said today. An attorney for one of the men said the two were trying to steal beer.

[Updated at 10:37 a.m.: A previous version of this story stated that officials said the men were stealing beer, but it was an attorney who made the comment.]

Jeffrey Michael Drach, 20, of Yorba Linda, and Justin Wesley Case, 21, of Placentia, were sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to residential burglary.

The men entered the Yorba Linda home Nov. 18 through a partially opened garage door, the Orange County District Attorney's office said. The FBI agent -- identified only as James M. -- entered the garage and identified himself as a law enforcement officer and ordered them to stop.

The agent briefly struggled with one of the men before both fled in a car. James M. shot at the car as it drove away but neither man was injured.

Drach’s attorney said the men entered the garage only to steal beer. The men fled before taking anything, said Deputy District Atty. Keith Bogardus.

The getaway car was spotted nearby later that morning, and the men were arrested soon after.

-- Raja Abdulrahim

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Comments () | Archives (72)


Since the FBI agent's life wasn't in danger when the men were driving away he shouldn't have shot at them. If we ordinary citizens had done the same thing chances are we would have been arrested for shooting at them. Since he was an FBI agent the old double standard rule seems to apply here.

The use of deadly force on a couple of losers stealing beer. Something doesn't add up here or maybe Mr. M should be up on charges himself.

So the FBI agent shoots at their car as they flee after trying to steal beer, and nothing happens to him?

That is ridiculous.

First, no one should be shot at as they attempt to flee (call the local police).

Second, no one should have deadly force used in response to attempted petty theft.

Lastly, a law enforcement agent should be held to at least as high a standard as the average person. This was a dangerous abuse to everyone including innocents in the neighborhood.

The agent should be sentenced to prison for endangering the community and attempted murder.

If they had tried that on an ordinary victim, would they have just gotten probation?

Just curious.

The FBI officer shot at their car as they drove away?! From an attempted beer-heist? Sounds like the FBI officer should be brought up on charges next.

Two years in prison for allegations of stealing beer? or of entering?

This is overly harsh, reactionary and plain stupid.

How about community service? How about sentencing these young men to doing something that will preserve and/or enhance the community? Sitting in a prison cell at the expense of taxpayers will not work. This is a misguided, stupid path the judge is taking.

If the story is true that "(FBI Agent) James M. shot at the car as it drove away but neither man was injured", then.....

Ummm. You don't shoot at a fleeing vehicle. The only appropriate time to fire is if your life is in danger, a la it is coming towards you and you cannot escape.

An average citizen would be charged with a firearms crime for such an emotional and reckless display with a firearm, and would likely lose the right to ever own another firearm.

Note to FBI: Sorry - the law is for everybody.

"Don't taze me, bro!"

So the off duty FBI agent shot at the fleeing automobile (whose occupants were most assumedly unarmed) within a residential area. Sounds great and I pretty much agree with it. But .... this didn't occur in Louisiana, a state that recognizes and respects its residents personal property rights. No, it happened in California, a state that has virtually no respect for personal property rights. If any of us ordinary California citizens had done the same (took a shot at a FLEEING automobile after someone tried to burglarise us), we would have ended up being arrested for most probably a felony. Ahhh .... what a great time to be an employee of the government and enjoy the benefits of a double standard. Just another example of the fallacy that those who take an oath to enforce the law should be held to a higher standard of actually obeying it.

That's scary that they are calling it burglary. When we were teenagers, we called it "garaging". Everyone kept beer in their garage!

He shot at the car? He shot at a fleeing car? And this man is allowed to carry a gun in public whereas an ordinary citizen who knows enough not to do something that stupid is prhibited by law from carrying a gun. This guy has a badge? And a gun? Hopefully somebody in the OCDA will take note of this and bring a charge. Lawmen don't shoot at cars, moving or not, unless they present an immediate danger to the life and limb of the shooter. Not the case here. We have a simple case of a resident foiling a burglary of his garage and then shooting at fleeing crooks. Illegal for Joe Sixpack but seemingly OK for federal agents protecting their beer! Where is the the justice in this? Why is there no punishment for this stupid move which endangered his neighbors and other motorists? Ever hear of missing your target? A moving target? Or a ricochet? This screams for punishment! Why isn't the news media acting on this?

He shot at the car? Would it be a just shooting if he would have killed one or both of the men?

He's a cop. It's a just use of a firearm if he's angry at someone...

Too bad the agent will probably be reprimanded for shooting that them. The laws are just wrong, when someone tries to take what I have worked for I will use deadly force. I'm almsot 60 so if I can help society by taking some punks out I will and get all of the press I can to get these laws changed.

If it was a regular Joe and not a law enforcement officer, the resident probably would have been arrested for shooting at the car as it was driving away.

Seriously, what is this world coming too!!! Give me a break!!! DISGUSTED!

Two years in jail is harsh. If the owner of the house wasnt FBI he would have gotten in trouble for firing his gun as the car was leaving. it but people at risk for no reason the agent was not in danger anymore once the two men were driving away. I would have shot at the men my self but I would have gotten in trouble and I think that is a bunch of bull that he can do that and we cant.

I have no problem with the FBI agents actions. He found strangers in his garage, he had a physical confrontation with one.....shoot away.

The penalities seem a little harsh though, but oh well, they knew better.

What a couple of idiots. Breaking into someone's garage? What did they expect? Lots of homeowners have guns, and yes, you can shoot one off in self-defense, during a break-in, FBI agent or not.

I'm glad none of the neighbors got hurt, but the defendants were morons, plain & simple.

By the way, I myself do not own a gun - but I'm glad when someone sends burglars a message!

Hmm, stealing in a home/garage is burglary, & staeling with force ie: resisting along with theft, is robbery. Too bad the crooks didn't do more time for Home Invasion Robbery.

That's a life term in some areas.

Last time I checked, my garage is part of my home.

So no re-course to th Fed for shooting at a car leaving in a residential area, I would have thought they'd be trained to not do that. I mean did these men deserve to die for attempting to steal beer? Sounds like there is another story here!

RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY PEOPLE!! NOT a beer run! The defense attorney said they were just stealing beer. Residential burglary is considered a SERIOUS felony, also a strike offense! Why? Because if someone is home, as in this case, but let's say it's grandma, grandma often ends up raped or dead (no witnesses). Again people...this was a RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY...not a beer run. USE YOUR HEADS and quit acting like such sheeple!

so if some one was in my garage and they were trying to steal my beer...i can shoot at them? i guess the wild west never died.

good thing he didn't accidently(while shooting on purpose) kill someone in the process. a child could have died over beer? they were fleeing already, no one was in danger, call the police. the agent himself commited crimes, where are the details of his sentence?

their defense lawyer said the two were there for stealing beer, or was it really for stealing beer? their defense lawyer wanted all of you to know that it was just for beer, so they should be slapped in the hand.

there's a reason why they're nailed for 2 years and it's not for trying to steal beer.
no one here knows the real reason, but I do hope that these 2 would rot in jail.

this should be a message to home invasion robberies out there.

At the time, the FBI agent didn't know that stealing beer was their only intent. That's what these two ADULTS say but who knows what they really wanted. Although shooting at them as they fled was a bit extreme. However, people shouldn't make excuses for these two, even if it was supposedly only for beer. Hopefully, this will prevent them from committing an even more serious crime in the future.

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