Sex offender sentenced to 10 years for stealing car, failing to register

A registered sex offender was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a Monterey County courtroom Friday.

A judge sentenced 36-year-old Richard Rocha to 10 years in state prison for failing to register as a sex offender, stealing a car and then fleeing police, according to prosecutors.

During the trial, Rocha, who is a transient, also admitted to a prior strike offense, prosecutors said.

In 1998 Rocha was convicted of child molestation and is a lifetime sex offender, which requires that he register annually with the police department each year around his birthday or upon release from jail, according to prosecutors.

In late 2014, Rocha was jailed in Monterey County for several months and failed to register upon release or on his birthday.

The last time he had registered as a sex offender was in August 2014, prosecutors said.

On Feb. 6, police responded to a residential burglary in North Salinas, in which a car had been stolen.

The next morning, when an officer spotted Rocha driving the stolen vehicle, he began to pursue him, according to prosecutors.

Rocha fled, driving over 70 miles per hour on Russell Road, before wrecking the car and fleeing foot, prosecutors said.

Officers found Rocha hiding in a tree house and several officers and a police K-9 subdued him.
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