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Press Release

Mt. Sterling Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Carjacking and Use of a Firearm During a Violent Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gary L. Thomas, 31, of Mt. Sterling, Ky., was sentenced today, to 15 years in prison by United States Senior District Court Judge Joseph M. Hood, for carjacking and use of a firearm during a violent offense.  Judge Hood also ordered Thomas to pay a restitution in the amount of $11,000 to the victim.

Thomas previously admitted that on March 18, 2017, he stole a Ford pickup truck near Morehead, Ky.  The stolen vehicle contained a firearm, a.380 caliber pistol.  The Defendant traveled westbound on I-64 and state law enforcement officers gave pursuit.  Thomas passed several vehicles on the left and right shoulders and forced others off the roadway.  Speeds near 120 miles per hour were reached during the pursuit.  Thomas was pursued into Clark County where he wrecked the vehicle.  After the wreck, Thomas  attempted to stop several other vehicles, while armed with the stolen firearm.  A good Samaritan had observed the wreck and had stopped to offer assistance.  Thomas pointed the firearm at the good Samaritan and robbed him of his 2005 Ford F250.  Thomas then drove off in the second stolen truck and later wrecked it as well.  Thomas ultimately fled on foot and was captured by local law enforcement.  Thomas pleaded guilty to the charges in November of 2017.

Thomas was on state parole at the time of the commission of these offenses.  His parole was subsequently revoked for a term of 15 years.  The federal sentence imposed today was ordered to run consecutively to his revoked parole.

Under federal law, Thomas must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence; and, upon release, he will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for five years.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Stuart Lowery, Special Agent in Charge ATF; Chief David Charles, Mt. Sterling Police Department; Sheriff Fred Shortridge, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department; and Sheriff Berl Purdue, Clark County Sheriff’s Department, jointly made the announcement.

The investigation was conducted by the ATF, the Mt. Sterling Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, and the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.  The United States was represented by Assistant United States Attorney Roger W. West.

This case were prosecuted as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority. In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.


Updated March 5, 2018

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods