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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Man jailed over Oscars theft
Robert Rehme
Academy president Robert Rehme keeps watch
A truck driver accused of stealing 55 Oscar statuettes before the 2000 Academy Awards has been sentenced to six months in prison by a court in Los Angeles.

Lawrence E Ledent, 38, pleaded no contest to a count of grand theft, and was also sentenced to five years probation.

He must also pay $50,000 (33,000) to his former employer, which sacked him after the Oscars disappeared from a warehouse near Los Angeles in March.
Lawrence Ledent
Lawrence Ledent at an earlier hearing

The money will compensate Ohio-based Roadway Express for the reward money it paid to salvage worker Willie Fulgear, who found all but three of the statuettes in a rubbish bin a week before the ceremony.

He said he found the Oscars still wrapped in plastics and individual white boxes.

"I found a lot of white stuff out there which were a lot of Styrofoam boxes and I picked one up and busted it open - Oscar!"

Fulgear was given a rapturous reception at the awards ceremony on 26 March - however, he told a local radio station in June that much of the reward money had been stolen from his flat.

Ledent, who has been free on bail, will begin serving his sentence on 8 August.

He must also pay the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences $1,050 (695) to compensate it for the three statuettes which are still missing.

Another man had been linked to the theft, but prosecutors decided not to file charges, citing a lack of evidence.

See also:

17 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscar statuettes go missing
21 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Two held over Oscar thefts
20 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscars found in rubbish bin
04 Jun 00 | Americas
Oscars' reward stolen
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