Athlete faces accused gold medal thieves in court - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Athlete faces accused gold medal thieves in court

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VISTA (CNS) - Three men accused of breaking into the Oceanside home of 2002 Olympic skeleton champion Tristan Gale Geisler and stealing her gold medal and other valuables pleaded not guilty Thursday to burglary and receiving stolen property.

Mauro Gonzalez, 24, Emilio Valencia, 21, and David Isaac Villa, also 21, were ordered held on $250,000 bail each.

Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior said the defendants went on a "three-man crime spree" last month, breaking into three homes, including Gale Geisler's twice.

The suspects allegedly stole Gale Geisler's gold medal and other valuables on Jan. 26 while she walked her dog.

Neighbors noticed suspicious activity and wrote down a license number, leading to the arrests of the defendants, the prosecutor said.

The trio probably got a good look at the inside of Gale Geisler's residence when they allegedly broke in about a week before and were scared off by the victim, Prior said.

Gale Geisler's gold medal -- which she won in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City -- was recovered this week, along with her Olympic ring, a computer hard drive containing family photos and other items, authorities said.

Gale Geisler's medal was for the sport of skeleton, a kind of sledding.

Valencia and Gonzalez also face theft charges for allegedly stealing from a local Walmart, Prior said.

All three defendants face up to 11 years and four months in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.

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