Crime

Botched bike theft leads to 7-year prison sentence for Los Osos man

Cole Benjamin Malone, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in state prison for first-degree residential burglary over an August 2016 incident in which he tried to steal a bicycle from the garage of a San Luis Obispo home.
Cole Benjamin Malone, 33, was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in state prison for first-degree residential burglary over an August 2016 incident in which he tried to steal a bicycle from the garage of a San Luis Obispo home. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office

A Los Osos man was sentenced to seven years in state prison Tuesday after being found guilty of trying to steal a bicycle from a San Luis Obispo home in August 2016.

The steep sentence for Cole Benjamin Malone comes after a jury found him guilty of a felony charge of first-degree residential burglary — considered a violent crime — and because he had a prior prison term for grand theft in 2013, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Malone, 33, was found guilty of the burglary charge but was found not guilty of two misdemeanor drug charges on Oct. 1 following a four-day trial. He will receive credit for roughly 260 days for time served in County Jail.

According to a DA’s Office news release, a homeowner discovered Malone in his attached garage trying to steal a bicycle after a child reported hearing noises. Malone reportedly ran from the scene but was subdued by the homeowner and nearby neighbors.

The DA’s Office said that residential burglary is classified as a violent crime and is considered a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes law.

“When an intruder violates the sanctity of a home it presents a very real potential for a violent confrontation with the resident,” District Attorney Dan Dow wrote in a prepared statement. “We are hopeful that this sentence will dissuade others from engaging in this type of criminal conduct and are thankful for the efforts of the jury in deciding this case.”

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Matt Fountain: 781-7909, @mattfountain1
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