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Byline: The Register-Guard

Two brothers sentenced for robbing shoppers

Two Springfield brothers who used a pellet gun and a wrench to rob shoppers waiting in line to buy the new PlayStation 3 game console were given lengthy prison sentences Thursday in Lane County Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Maurice Merten sentenced Brandon Alan Howard, 21, to 9 1/2 years in prison and his brother, Steven David Simpson, 19, to eight years and three months. Both men had entered guilty pleas to two counts each of second-degree robbery. Neither will be eligible for early release, and both were given three years' post-prison supervision.

The men hatched a plan Nov. 16 to rob "computer geeks" waiting in line outside the Springfield Circuit City store to buy the sought-after game system, Deputy Lane County District Attorney David Montgomery told the court.

They stole a total of $120 from two people and got nothing from a third victim.

Several weapons stolen from area gun shop

Burglars forced their way into a gun shop north of Eugene and stole several weapons this week, and investigators have asked the public's help in finding the culprits and the missing firearms.

The burglar alarm at S & M Gun Shop, 1375 River Road, sounded shortly before 3 a.m. Monday. A Lane County sheriff's deputy arrived to find the front door broken open. The shop owner checked the inventory and said several guns had been stolen. Eugene police helped search for the suspects without success.

The sheriff's office asked anyone with information about the culprits or the guns to call the tip line at 682-4167.

EWEB plants shut down to aid steelhead smolts

The Eugene Water & Electric Board's Leaburg and Walterville hydroelectric plants were shut down Thursday to help hatchery steelhead smolts migrate down the McKenzie River.

The plants were gradually shut down beginning Wednesday afternoon, and gradually returned to service Thursday evening. They should be back at full power on Saturday.

The effect of the shutdown is to leave more water in the McKenzie River, which officials hope will prompt the small fish to continue moving downstream. The fish, measuring 10 inches and less, were released in early April from the Leaburg Trout Hatchery just below Leaburg Dam.

EWEB learned of the issue by boaters and fishermen who attended an EWEB commissioners' meeting in Vida on Tuesday, spokesman Marty Douglass said. EWEB decided to take the action Wednesday after consulting with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, he said.

Other power resources were sufficient to allow for the shutdown of the plants, Douglass said. However, the shutdown represents $20,000 in lost generation, he said.

- From Register-Guard and news service reports
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Title Annotation:General News; METRO
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 4, 2007
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