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Virginia man who stole White House truck gets seven years in prison

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - A Virginia man, whose career as a truck thief came to an end when he unwittingly stole a truck containing President Barack Obama's teleprompter, was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday.

Eric Brown, 49, pleaded guilty in January to theft of government property. The sentence, by U.S. District Court Judge John Gibney Jr., helped resolve the theft of more than a dozen other trucks in the Richmond area, of which Brown was a suspect.

Brown stole the truck, used by the White House communications staff, from a hotel parking lot ahead of an October 11 appearance by Obama, according to court papers.

The Richmond man, whom court papers say had a history of drug use, didn't notice the presidential seals on the outside of the truck but realized what he had done when he began to unload it and found the teleprompter, sound system and other equipment worth more than $200,000, according to prosecutor Laura Taylor.

He sold a Defense Department laptop from the truck to a person who became a cooperating witness for the government and who confronted Brown on whether he had stolen the truck full of presidential equipment.

"Man, I got that truck. I don't do no playing," Brown told the witness, according to court papers.

(Reporting by Gary Robertson; Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum)

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