West Fire looter given four years, eight months in prison

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A man convicted of looting during the West Fire in Alpine was sentenced Oct. 26 to four years and eight months in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Shane Waller sought a maximum term of seven years and four months for Ardian Iseni, 30, whom a jury convicted of residential burglary and attempted burglary on Sept. 21.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Jeff Fraser imposed four years for the burglary of the home of Carol Vincelett and her husband, plus eight months for attempted burglary.

A man convicted of looting during the West Fire in Alpine was sentenced Oct. 26 to four years and eight months in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Shane Waller sought a maximum term of seven years and four months for Ardian Iseni, 30, whom a jury convicted of residential burglary and attempted burglary on Sept. 21.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Jeff Fraser imposed four years for the burglary of the home of Carol Vincelett and her husband, plus eight months for attempted burglary.

Iseni received credits for 224 days in jail, including good conduct credits, and was fined $594.

Vincelett identified jewelry, pliers, military ribbons and a military medal that were in a bag in her home that was taken by Iseni on July 6 during the West Fire after they had evacuated.

“I am truly ashamed of what I did to them,” said Iseni to the judge. “The fact that they might not feel safe in their own home is, it just disgusts me. In the last 10 years, I’ve become something that disgusts myself, and I’ll find a way to change it.”

His trial only lasted three days before a six-man, six-woman jury convicted him of both charges after deliberating two hours.

Iseni was captured when neighbors saw him checking a door and peering into an evacuated home. He was challenged, and he said he was a neighbor, but the neighbors saw him carrying a woman’s black bag that contained looted items.

Neighbors said Iseni was wearing a long sleeve sweatshirt with a hoodie and long pants–clothing not appropriate for 110-degree weather.

“He stood out like a sore thumb,” said Jeffrey Shoaf, an Alpine resident who was a trial witness.

“Bolder Than Most” rapist’s release put on hold

The judge who earlier ordered the conditional release of the 1980s “Bolder Than Most” rapist put the release on hold Oct. 26 after officials discovered the residence’s self-described owner in Jacumba Hot Springs was not authorized to rent it out.

The courtroom of San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill was packed with people opposed to the release of Alvin Ray Quarles, now 56, who sexually assaulted 12 women in San Diego from 1985-1988.

However, Gill took no testimony, as the issue of the house caused Gill to halt the release and it will not be re-considered. Quarles remains in a state psychiatric hospital in Coalinga, California.

David Forester, the regional coordinator of Liberty Healthcare Corporation which operates the conditional release program, told Gill the property owner “was not permitted to sub-lease the property” to the agency.

The self-described owner co-owns the house on Desert Rose Ranch Road, but the registered owner is the state Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The obvious next step is to find another suitable placement,” said Gill.

Forester asked for more time for the agency to find a place where Quarles could live, and Gill set another hearing for Jan. 4, 2019.

Deputy District Attorney Jessica Soto filed a motion for Gill to re-consider Quarles’ release on other grounds such as Quarles has not yet finished the four-phase sexually violent predator (SVP) treatment program at Coalinga State Hospital.

Gill did not rule on Soto’s motion, and she will be free to argue it again. She also argued that the doctors at Coalinga did not recommend his release. Also Friday, the judge ordered an update on Quarles’ progress in the program.

“Today’s ruling buys us time and is a small victory in the battle to keep a dangerous predator away from our community,” said DA Summer Stephan in a statement.

Quarles was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1989, but under law at that time, he earned credits that allowed his release after serving 25 years. He was declared an SVP and held in a hospital for the last four and a half years before he petitioned for release.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob also was in court and had hoped to testify.

“He remains locked up, that’s good news,” said Jacob afterwards. “This guy is the worst of the worst. Let’s hope they can’t find a place to put him. I would encourage people to write letters to the judge.”

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