‘Shovel burglar’ sentenced to 22 years

A man who used a shovel to pry open doors in a string of burglaries in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties was sentenced Friday to 22 years in state prison, a Monterey County Judge ruled.

Morgan Hicks, 35, broke into homes on Clubhouse Drive in Rio Del Mar and many other areas from June to September 2007, said Deputy Attorney General Ralph Sivilla. On Jan. 18, Hicks pleaded guilty in Monterey County Superior Court to four counts of residential burglary, 15 counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of identity theft and one count of grand theft auto, according to court records.

Hicks stole a 2005 Toyota Prius in Monterey County, Sivilla said. Hicks ransacked homes in Rio Del Mar and stole antique jewelry, computers and other items, prosecutors said.

“He stole some things that were highly personal. He seemed to have no regard for the value of things,” Sivilla said. Judge Patricia Butler handed down the sentence.