What started as a turnstile jump at a New York City PATH train station ended with a seven-year prison sentence.
The fare-skipping caught the cops' attention, but a completely different (and much more serious) offense led to Ruben Sanabria's lengthy stay behind bars.
The New York Post reports that Sanabria was carrying an illegal handgun when law enforcement stopped him. Sanabria had a loaded .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, extra bullets and a holster all on his person.
The police noticed Sanabria reach for his waistband and told him to put his hands on a nearby wall. Instead, Sanabria made a run for it. He tossed his gun on the ground in the process, but police quickly caught him.
The arrest occurred last year, but Sanabria was sentenced just a few days ago to seven years in state prison and three-and-a-half years of probation.
After the sentencing, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. released a statement:
This defendant illegally carried a loaded semi-automatic firearm into a public transportation system used by thousands of people every day. The officers who apprehended him did so at great personal risk. Preventing gun violence is one of my top priorities as District Attorney, and I will make sure that this Office continues to seek strong sentences for crimes involving firearms.
The Web is full of stories of people being stopped by law enforcement for relatively harmless crimes only to be arrested on far more serious infractions. Just last month, a case of shoplifting in Southern California turned into a high-speed chase, according to the Santa Monica Mirror, with the suspects throwing a gun out of the window.
Last year, reported OnlineAthens.com, a Georgia woman, stopped while attempting to shoplift groceries from a supermarket, used pepper spray on an employee and was charged not only with aggravated assault, but also felony theft "because she had more than three previous shoplifting convictions."