Man pleads no contest to stealing 3,000 movie posters from bus shelters
A Reseda man pleaded no contest Tuesday to stealing 3,000 movie posters from bus shelters and then selling them online, prosecutors said.
Christian Eric Stevens, 36, immediately was sentenced to 25 days in county jail by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Leslie Dunn after pleading no contest to one count of grand theft of personal property. He had faced a maximum of five years behind bars.
Stevens also received three years of formal probation and a two-year suspended prison sentenced. If he fails to comply with any of the terms of the negotiated settlement, Stevens could be sentenced to state prison.
Prosecutors said Stevens stole the 3,000 posters owned by CBS from bus shelters in the San Fernando Valley between June 3, 2011, and March 27, 2012. He is accused of selling them on an online auction site for more than $450,000. Investigators recovered 1,770 posters valued at $265,500.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which investigated the case, said the posters were advertisements for such films as "The Hunger Games."
Acting on a tip from CBS security, LAPD detectives from the West Valley Division went online to purchase one of the posters. After securing a search warrant for Stevens' home, investigators found a trove of the posters, which have "not for resale" stamped on the back.
"There were posters for virtually every movie that's been out for the last two years," said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith.