Two men sentenced to jail for Dumpster diving released early

September 7, 2006

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS - Authorities on Wednesday released two Rainbow Family members who were sentenced to six months in jail for plucking discarded fruit and vegetables from the trash after prosecutors said their vigorous prosecution was based on faulty information.

Giles Charle, 24, and David Siller, 27, were released from the Routt County Jail at about 5:45 p.m., said Sgt. Dave Shulz, a guard at the jail. The two had served 10 days.

"Weve had a lot of mood swings in the last 24 hours," Siller told the Steamboat Pilot & Today shortly after being released.

"Our hopes were down and then all of a sudden, its all over. We were really beginning to accept that this was going to be our home for awhile," Charle told the paper.

In a letter sent to the men's attorney Wednesday and posted on the newspaper's Web site, prosecutor Kerry St. James said one of the Sweet Pea Produce owners originally estimated the items taken by the two were worth $15 retail. He said another co-owner has since come forward to say the items were worthless.

"As such, we will agree to a stipulated reduction of sentence in these two cases to the time that the defendants have served," St. James said in the letter to Wayne Westphale.

Charle and Siller were arrested June 26. Authorities said they took five cucumbers, four or five apricots, two bundles of asparagus spears and a handful of cherries from a garbage can.

Charle, of Somersworth, N.H., and Siller, of Wayne, Pa., admitted they went over the fence to get to the garbage. They were charged with felony second-degree burglary and misdemeanor theft. Last week they accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing, agreeing to a 6-month jail sentence to avoid a felony conviction.

A message left by The Associated Press for Westphale seeking comment and a way to reach Charle and Siller, was not immediately returned.

The two were on their way to the Rainbow Family of Living Light gathering in northern Routt County, about 30 miles north of Steamboat Springs. The weeklong event drew thousands of campers to a National Forest. Hundreds were cited by federal authorities for gathering without required permits.

The store has lost business because of the arrests, St. James said, and this weekend Sweet Pea co-owner Jonathon Hieb said he told prosecutors he wanted nothing to do with the case.

St. James added: "we are willing to compromise our position and hope that the message still remains that it is unacceptable to burglarize a local business."


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