A Charlottesville man charged with several car thefts from a used car dealership in Nelson County was sentenced March 29 in Nelson Circuit Court.
Trey Thomas Garrison, 21, was sentenced to seven years with all but 180 days suspended for three felony county of grand larceny and two breaking and entering and was ordered by the court to pay more than $15,000 in restitution to the business.
According to Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel Rutherford, Garrison, who testified during the sentencing hearing, targeted W.E. Smith’s Auto Sales in Afton and stole three separate vehicles on as many visits from April to July 2020.
Rutherford said two vehicles were recovered but ultimately were total losses. The third vehicle still has not been found.
“It was a local business here in Nelson that was greatly impacted,” Rutherford said of Garrison. “It’s a travesty that he took this path.”
Garrison testified he didn’t target the Afton business for any particular reason but said he was driven to start stealing the cars because of the trauma of losing his unborn son. He also noted difficulties in his childhood and being under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Anthony Martin, Garrison’s defense attorney, said his client had not been dealt a “fair deal of cards in his life” but otherwise had no criminal history despite the “serious felonies” he now faces.
Martin argued for Garrison to have a delayed reporting date to jail so he can have the opportunity to find employment and begin paying back the restitution. Garrison will report to jail Oct. 1 following the outcome of a September hearing.
Before handing down a sentence, Judge Michael Doucette said Garrison violated someone’s personal space by breaking into the business and stealing the vehicles. He also said not all of the thefts were the product of alcohol use.
“You had a vulnerable victim and you went back to the well not once, but twice,” Doucette said. “You wanted to steal cars.”
Garrison must also complete two years of supervised probation.
Rutherford said he felt jail time was warranted given the severity of the charges and frequency of Garrison’s offenses.