Crime - Sacto 911

Man with 40-year criminal history sentenced for car thefts, purse snatchings

A 62-year-old Sacramento man with a criminal record dating back more than four decades has been sentenced to prison for a series of car thefts and purse snatchings.

A Sacramento County jury in June convicted David Ferris of robbery, three counts of unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, grand theft and two counts of petty theft. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Marjorie Koller on Friday sentenced Ferris to 23 years and four months, plus 25 years to life in prison, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

Between Nov. 5, 2015, and Jan. 18, 2016, Ferris stole a Volkswagen, Toyota and Honda from three dealerships, prosecutors said. In all three thefts, he pretended to be interested in buying a car and used a Canadian identification for the test drives. In one case, Ferris asked to see the car key while doing paperwork with the salesman. When the salesman left the desk, Ferris took the key and the car.

In the other two cases, Ferris drove off with the cars as the salesmen were walking to the passenger side of the car for test drives.

During that period of time, Ferris also stole three purses out of shopping carts as the victims loaded items into their cars in the Walmart parking lot in Rancho Cordova, authorities said. He stole a fourth purse from a victim who was loading items into her trunk in the Target parking lot on Fourth Avenue in Sacramento. This victim tried to hold onto her purse, but Ferris ripped it out of her hands.

One of the victims was able to track and find her iPhone. That night, the stolen Toyota and her property were recovered.

Ferris eventually was found at Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs with the key to the stolen Honda in his pocket. One of the stolen purses along with items from another stolen purse were found in and around the stolen Honda in the parking lot.

Prosecutors said Ferris’ criminal history goes back more than 40 years and includes a 1978 strike conviction under California’s “three strikes” law for committing a lewd act upon a child younger than 14, as well as a 1996 strike conviction for robbery. Other convictions include first-degree burglary, multiple grand thefts, vehicle theft and recklessly evading officers, receiving stolen property, ID theft, soliciting for prostitution and multiple petty thefts.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy