President Barack Obama’s teleprompter may be more valuable than even his biggest critics claim. After all, a man who stole a truck that had the electronic device in it was sentenced to seven years in federal prison.
"The theft of government property is a serious offense," Assistant U.S. Attorney Roderick Young said during Virginia resident Eric Brown’s sentencing hearing, according to NBC News. "It's all the more serious when the property belongs to the White House Communications Agency."
Virginia sentencing guidelines stipulate a prison term of about three years for the theft of government property, but Brown, 49, agreed to the lengthier sentence to avoid prosecution for 14 other truck thefts, reported NBC.
Over the past 30 years, Brown has been convicted of 36 crimes.
"If I had to sum up Mr. Brown's character, it would be that he's a thief," Judge John A. Gibney said.
Brown’s defense attorney, David Lett, told NBC the sentencing agreement "gives Mr. Brown the opportunity to start anew if he wants to do so."
Virginia’s Stafford County, however, refused to join in Brown’s plea agreement, meaning he faces yet another potential conviction.
Although the truck itself was empty when it was recovered by law enforcement authorities, several of the stolen items later turned up at various Maryland pawn shops.
For his part, Brown said he didn't know the black Ford truck he had stolen was owned and operated by the White House when he took the vehicle back on Oct. 16, 2011, from a hotel parking lot in Virginia. And while it’s true that the exterior of the vehicle did not bear any official government signage, prosecutors said several computers and pieces of audio equipment found inside the truck did bear the presidential seal.
Brown said he specifically targeted Ford F-350 and F-450 trucks because he felt they were easy to steal.
Conservative critics of Obama have long mocked what they consider his reliance on the teleprompter device, which displays text on a rolling screen.
Back in 1994, President Bill Clinton gave what is widely considered one of the more memorable State of the Union addresses after his teleprompter experienced technical difficulties and he was forced to speak without one for several minutes.