A California man who crawled on his belly to avoid motion detectors in dozens of break-ins walked free after pleading guilty to 54 felony charges Thursday, the second time he has been freed on dozens of felony charges in under a year, Riverside Police say.
Christopher Jackson, 32, gained the nickname “Snake Burglar” because he crawled around on his belly to stay below motion detectors, as caught on surveillance video at multiple locations.
Riverside Police caught him red-handed on bodycam video around 10:45 p.m. on April 12. Images showed Jackson dressed in dark clothing and wearing a backpack outside a commercial building.
When they arrested him, he had just been sentenced to 16 months for a prior 23 felonies, police said. He only served 10 days of that sentence due to jail overcrowding.
“It is unconscionable that a habitual offender like Christopher Jackson can steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from hard-working people, admit to it, and legally serve less time in jail than the time it will take his hundreds of victims to recoup their losses,” Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said in a statement.
Jackson’s victims included health clinics, restaurants and beauty salons still reeling from coronavirus-era closures.
Despite the staggering list of allegations against him, he walked free.
“What’s gonna stop him from escalating things, breaking into somebody’s house, and hurting somebody like my wife or my 11-year-old daughter?” victim Ryan Perrone, a sandwich store owner, askd FOX 11 Los Angeles Thursday. “Who is responsible for this?”
According to Hestrin’s office, two California laws led to Jackson’s immediate release – Proposition 47 and AB109, which reduced the amount of inmates in state prisons and lowered the penalties for some crimes.
Under the laws and because the burglaries are classified as nonviolent offenses, “Jackson was not eligible to receive any prison time,” Hestrin’s office said.
“It’s the law that’s broken,” Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez said Thursday.
Jackson was sentenced to seven months in jail – which would be covered by his credit for time served, according to the DA’s office. Jackson also received 12 years of probation, during which he must wear a GPS ankle monitor, and the court ordered him to pay more than $150,000 in restitution.
“More time has been put in by our officers and detectives investigating Christopher Jackson’s crimes than the amount of time he spent in jail,” Riverside police said in a statement. “This case is not an anomaly to what has been occurring since the changes in the laws several years ago, it is more common than people realize.”
The court ordered him to stay 100 yards away from the 54 different businesses he admitted to burglarizing in Riverside and Moreno Valley, according to Hestrin’s office.