Stealing a Donut May Cost Man 30 Years in Prison

Scott A. Masters, 41, is accused of shoplifting a single donut worth 52 cent in a strong-arm robbery. For that, he could get a sentence of 30 years to life!

... one man's sweet tooth got the better of him. He stole a doughnut. A single doughnut.

Authorities called it strong-arm robbery. The "doughnut man," as the suspect is now known, faces five to 15 years in prison for his crime. And Farmington, a town of 14,000 people about 70 miles south of St. Louis, has been buzzing about it ever since.

"That someone would take just a single doughnut, not something very expensive or extravagant, that's unique," supermarket assistant manager Gary Komar said, smiling.

Scott A. Masters, 41, is accused of shoplifting the pastry and pushing a store worker who tried to stop him. The worker was unhurt. But with that shove, his shoplifting turned into a strong-arm robbery. Masters, who appeared in court Friday, is stunned. The prosecutor shows no signs of backing down. In fact, because Masters has a prior record, he could get a sentence of 30 years to life.

I believe in tough laws, but this is ridiculous. What do you guys think? | Donut image from uncleboatshoes [Flickr] - via Blue's News

He has a string of prior offenses, including other shoplifting charges, arson, and methamphetamine production related offenses. Throw the book at him.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I dunno, that's harsh but the law isn't designed to help out one particular person, it's designed to help everybody in general. If someone steals something and then is physically aggressive when someone tries to stop them, you've just met the requirements for strong-arm robbery. If you nitpick over the details for this case, you'll have to do that for every single other case as well.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Yes, as Why not? says...this post does not do justice to his prior offenses. He has quite the rap sheet. He has obviously not learned the basic right / wrong aspects in life, so throw the book at him!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
sushirama, that argument pretty much sucks. How many crimes out there really result in a loss of more than 52cent?

If we used that argument murderers would get off with no penalty. Child penalty.

That's just stupid man.

He broke the law. Actually, he was pretty proficient at it. When he shoved the guy, I'm willing to bet it wasn't for fear of not getting to keep his donut. He knew if he got caught he was in a ton of trouble because of his past.

Let him rot.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This isn't his first offense, so the value of what he was STEALING doesn't come into play. Maybe he just can't get his tiny little mind around the rules society has in place, but he'll certainly learn first hand the penalties for breaking them. Personally, I think we should outsource (or offshore or whatever the clever term is today) prisonors to the nice, efficient and much much much cheaper China prisons.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Oh fuck, you people should get a life. I didn't realise that so many of the posters here were right wingnuts.

it was a fscking donut. The woman employee was the agressor, he offered to give the donut back. Christ all fucking mighty.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@ Drew

Arguably a murder costs a massive amount - loss of income, funeral expenses, investigative and legal expenses, but really you are confusing economic harm with physical harm - which isn't too bright, in my book. I'm not saying the man shouldn't be punished, but 30 years is way too long. It may be the LAW but it wouldn't be JUSTICE.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I don't get the folks who say that because of his past criminal record he should be sentenced to 30 years.

Wasn't he arrested, prosecuted, and punished for those prior offenses? Isn't adding to his term now because of them in effect repunishing him for things he's already been adjudicated and punished for?

I don't like the idea of locking up someone for 30 years because of who they are (a "bad guy", a repeat felon, etc) when what they did wasn't that severe. If he didn't have a record, would the "strong-arm robbery" of a donut be worth 30 years? I personally don't think so.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Obviously he hasn't learned anything from his prior punishments. He should not be let off the hook completely just because this time he only stole a donut, even if his trial shows that someone else on here is correct and he actually "shoved" the employee in self-defense. The concept of do not steal is simple enough that millions of small children are successfully taught it every year. Adults who refuse to abide by it should be punished.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The fact he has had a whole string of prior acts (some violent) and is still committing violent acts tells us that he has not been rehabilitated and in fact can be considered incorrigible. Toss him in the clink and put him to work breaking rocks.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
When my kids were small, we were in the grocery store and saw a woman eating grapes out of the produce display and feeding them to her toddler. My daughter asked if she could have some too, to which I replied in my most ringing tones, audible several aisles over, "No, dear, eating food without paying for it is STEALING". The lady turned red and left the area, my kids got a good lesson, and I got a good laugh. In that case, embarassment was hopefully plenty of punishment.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The value of the donut doesn't really matter to me. If you don't want to go to jail, you probably shouldn't steal things from stores and assault the employees on the way out.

Neatorama seriously kicks ass
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Well, the bastard *should* go to prison for stealing - but I think 30 years is excessive. This only wins you "I'm tough on crime" points if you want to run for public office but I'm not sure how justice is served.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Saying that he'll go to jail for 30 years for stealing a donut is misleading. Sure, the crime that he's charged with has a maximum penalty of 30 years, but is the judge really going to go for the maximum penalty in this case? Of course not. That should be reserved for, I don't know, choking someone while stealing diamonds.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
We live in a country where those in charge can steal billions in Iraq, torture and murder innocent civilians, but we want to throw a guy in jail over a donut.

And people wonder what's wrong with this country. There it is.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@Sparge: but that's another problem with maximum penalty and even "time served" - am I the only one that think it's ridiculous that someone could be sentenced to 4 days in jail and was let out after only 82 minutes like Nicole Ritchie?

Or maybe that's a rant for another post. ;)
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Alex, you're mixing apples and oranges.

One question is whether 30 years for a lifelong felon is appropriate. If he was a first timer, he'd have gotten a light punishment for stealing the donut and pushing the worker. But if someone commits a crime, serves time, doesn't change his ways, commits another crime, doesn't change his ways etc etc, then eventually he's shown he's unable to live by society's rules and thus should spend a significant part of his life in prison.

Nicole Ritchie by comparison received an appropriate sentence for her crime and criminal history. The amount of time she actually served is based on how much room the jails has to hold her. The jail's full, so it had to release people with light sentences early in order to keep the more serious offenders behind bars.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@Donna: America is a major world power.

It can maintain a military force in that cesspool called Irag AND throw a habitual criminal in prison for stealing a donut.

Personally, I don't have a problem with either one.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@jstruan: I agree that it's comparing apples/oranges. But back to 30 years in prison, in the 1990s the "Three Strikes You're Out" law was very popular in California.

Heck, I thought it was a great idea, until people were thrown in jail for relatively minor crimes - which put a tremendous stress on the prison system and caused overcrowding.

The problem with disproportionately harsh sentences is that they distract from solving the underlying problem of crime and will eventually cause more harm than good.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Y'know, when I look at the beetle-browed, self-righteous comments left here by law-abiding citizens, I can't bring myself to look down on anyone for being a criminal.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
AK-00: Say what?? What the hell does obeying the law have to do with one's brow? Why does obeying the law and expecting others to do the same get one labelled as self-righteous? Are we so polarized as leftists and righties, religious and not, that simple right and wrong is a political issue? Yeah, probably we are. That is sadder than some fool stealing a donut in plain sight.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
A petty crime merits a petty punishment. A slap on the wrist or a fine, nothing more. That is my opinion on the matter of doughnut theft.
As far as the comments here are concerned, I find self-righteousness to be a far more repulsive and socially harmful trait than mere kleptomania could ever be.
What puzzles me is why you bring up the whole left/right thing. I didn't mention it, and don't feel it has anything to do with me.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Yep, someone else brought up right-wing, not you. Sorry.

Still wonder what's self-righteous about having basic self-control and expecting it of others.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This is ridiculous. A man steals a donut and prosecutors want 30 years because the crime is considered a "strong arm robbery." Why would you give a man who stole a donut a longer sentence than many who have committed murder.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 32 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"Stealing a Donut May Cost Man 30 Years in Prison"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More