Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: What happened in court to Michael Gomes, who was one of the men accused of the Mariposa County gem heist?
Submitted by: Elizabeth, Auburn
ANSWER: Michael Anthony Gomes, 43, was arrested in January at his Citrus Heights home in connection with the September robbery of the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa.
He was one of five men arrested in the $1.3 million heist.
According to accounts in The Fresno Bee and Merced Sun-Star, Gomes and two other defendants reached plea deals with prosecutors last month. Gomes pleaded no contest to seven counts, including assault with a deadly weapon and second-degree burglary, and was sentenced to five years and four months in prison.
Matthew Campbell, 43, pleaded no contest to three counts, including attempted robbery, and is to serve less than a year in jail.
Edward Rushing III, pleaded no contest to 10 charges, including auto theft and robbery, and received a 15-year prison sentence.
Jonathan Matis, 41, entered a not guilty plea Tuesday, and the fifth defendant, Christopher Scott Sheffield, 42, is to appear in Mariposa County Superior Court on May 28 for arraignment.
The robbery occurred about 4 p.m. Sept. 28, when the men, dressed in black and wearing hoods, entered the museum's vault. They reportedly used pickaxes to smash display cases and steal gold and gems.
They were not able to break the case holding the museum's historic 14-pound Fricot gold nugget.
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