CLAIM

A man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for stealing a remote control.

MIXTURE

RATING

MIXTURE

WHAT'S TRUE

A man was sentenced to 22 years in prison after stealing a remote control.

WHAT'S FALSE

The theft of the remote control was not the only factor that contributed to the sentencing of Eric Bramwell.

ORIGIN

In January 2017, media outlets published misleadingly-titled articles which appeared to report that an Illinois man named Eric Bramwell had been sentenced to 22 years in prison, just for stealing a remote control:

prison sentence

While it is true that Bramwell stole a remote control, and while it is also true that he was sentenced to 22 years in prison, the remote theft was not the only contributing factor to his prison sentence.  According to the Daily Herald, a local newspaper covering the Chicago suburbs, Bramwell has a criminal history and is considered a serial thief.

During his sentencing, prosecutors connected Bramwell to several other burglaries:

“(Bramwell’s) illegal activity and his history have finally caught up with him,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement. “Regardless of what was stolen, Mr. Bramwell repeatedly thumbed his nose at the law. He took what he wanted time and time again and expected to avoid the consequences.”

Bramwell’s criminal history made him eligible for Class X sentencing, which in Illinois is the most serious felony on the books short of first degree murder and carries mandatory prison time:

The following charges are Class X felonies in Illinois:

  1. Aggravated kidnapping, 720 ILCS 5/10-2.
  2. Aggravated battery with a firearm, 720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1).
  3. Aggravated battery of a child, 720 ILCS 5/12-4.3(a).
  4. Home invasion, 720 ILCS 5/19-6.
  5. Aggravated criminal sexual assault, 720 ILCS 5/12-14.
  6. Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child (over 17 years of age and victim under 13 years old), 720 ILCS 5/12-14.1(1).
  7. Armed robbery, 720 ILCS 5/18-2.
  8. Aggravated vehicular hijacking, 720 ILCS 5/18-4.
  9. Aggravated arson, 720 ILCS 5/20-1.1.
  10. Possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (such as 15-100 grams or possession with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a public park, church, school, or public housing), 720 ILCS 570/401.

Bramwell, 35, will be required to serve at least half of his 22-year sentence before he becomes eligible for parole.

Sources:

Kmitch, Justin.   “22-year prison term for Wheaton remote control theft.”
    Daily Herald.   6 January 2017.

WGN-TV.   “Chicago-area Serial Thief Gets 22 Years in Prison for Stealing TV Remote Control.”
    9 January 2017.