2 convicted in Olympic medal theft sentenced to prison - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

2 convicted in Olympic medal theft sentenced to prison

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VISTA (CNS) - Two men who committed a series of North County burglaries, including a break-in at the Oceanside home of 2002 Olympic skeleton champion Tristan Gale Geisler, were sentenced to prison terms Thursday.

Emilio Valencia, 22, and David Isaac Villa, 21, both of whom pleaded guilty to burglary and receiving stolen property, were sentenced to eight years and six years behind bars, respectively.

According to Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior, Valencia, Villa and a third defendant -- 24-year-old Mauro Gonzalez -- went on a "three-man crime spree" in January, breaking into three homes, including Geisler's on two occasions. They took Geisler's gold medal and other valuables on Jan. 26 while she was walking her dog.

Neighbors noticed suspicious activity and wrote down a license plate number, leading to the arrests, Prior said.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to the same charges as his co-defendants and was sentenced last week to four years in state prison.

The getaway driver in some of the burglaries, Noemi Balderas, 23, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and was sentenced earlier this month to three years probation and given credit for 110 days in jail.

Geisler's gold medal -- which she won in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City in the sport of skeleton, a type of sledding -- was recovered a few days after it was stolen, along with her Olympic ring, a computer hard drive containing family photos and other items.

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