Posted in: Crime

Ribs Theft Lands Man In Jail For 50 Years

ribs theft 50 years in jail

A man who stole a rack of ribs was subsequently jailed for 50 years for the crime, Texas news sources report.

The 43-year-old Texan, Willie Smith Ward, was sentenced today to the half-century term after he was charged with the theft of a rack of ribs retailing for $35.

Ward’s conviction Wednesday was, however, not solely related to the ribs’ theft — previous convictions also influenced the hefty jail time imposed for stealing the meat back in 2011.

In the past, Ward has been convicted of felonies including attempted robbery, cocaine possession, burglary, aggravated assault, and leaving the scene of an accident. In addition, he has been convicted of two thefts, and four misdemeanors in total.

In light of Ward’s previous run ins with the law, the jury determined that despite the relatively low dollar value of the ribs, other factors (including the use of a knife, making the theft a robbery) indicated that he might continue to commit crimes.

The Waco Tribune quotes Assistant District Attorney J.R. Vicha, who said the harsh sentence for ribs theft sends a message about repeat offenders.

Vicha explained:

“This verdict shows that the citizens of this county will not tolerate a continued disrespect and disregard for other people and their property … People who choose to do so will be dealt with seriously and appropriately.”

According to the paper, Ward’s 50-year-long jail sentence will have to be served by at least one quarter of the term before he is even eligible for parole on the conviction.

Prior to being sentenced to 50 years in jail for ribs theft, Ward was offered a 20-year-long sentence as part of a plea bargain on the charge. He reportedly declined the offer of a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.

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79 Responses to “Ribs Theft Lands Man In Jail For 50 Years”

  1. Luz Quinones

    Really! 50 years? woow is this world upside down or what? Murderers, rapist, child molesters they get a get out of jail free card. Again, Really!

  2. Rebecca Burtch

    This cannot be true. That is beyond absurd!!

  3. Linda M. Davidson

    This is quite ignorant. Murderers, rapists, don't get this much time. The Judicial System is so screwed up……… I do not agree with this decision.

  4. Mickenzie Leigh O'Dell

    Are you f'ing kidding? You can rape a child and ruin her for the rest of her existence here on earth but hey… you better not touch the meat! WTF HAS AMERICA F'ING COME TO! THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO FAUGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY, SERVED OUR COUNTRY, MADE THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY TODAY… WOULD BE DISGUSTED AT THIS JUSTICE SYSTEM.

  5. Jamie Wilson

    That is just crazy. 50 years. That is going overboard. This is one of the cases where the judge needs to step in and disregard the juries decision. Murderers, rapists, child molesters don't get harsh sentence's like this which they should. But stealing $35.00 in ribs constitutes 50 years in prison.

  6. Andrew Joseph Mayton

    If you comment based only on the headline then yes it is absurd but if you read the story you realize this guy has been given many many chances and he has proven he cannot live in a polite law abiding society. All those saying how rediculace this is need to ask themselves if they would want him living next to them?

  7. Midge Dickerson

    really? it would have made sense to feed him and let him do some work for it.people are going straight to hell.at least he won't be hungry anymore.the system is backwards because sex offenders get out in 5 yrs.you can't make an example out of him unless he killed someone or anything but hunger!

  8. Jeremy Dobie Hillis

    Goddamn, most of you can't comprehend or didn't even read the article before you posted your opinion. The man has a long history of crimes and most of them violent. He did not get 50 years for theft, he got it because he has had so many chances and has squandered all of them. Put him in jail, force him to work from in there and finally do something productive with his life.

  9. Betty Lou Embry

    50 years for that, killers get lese then that, gee the world is going to hell. the man is down on his luck, let the man go, he has it bad as it is. DO YOUR JOB!

  10. Teresa Jennifer Crowl

    What's wrong with this world- convicted murders get benefits and have rights and harmless screw ups get thrown in jail for life ~~~~.

  11. Tressie Ellis

    Yes, 50 years is a long time but for a REPEAT FELON? NoT too bad of a deal. If you READ the article you will see he has been convicted of numerous robberies, and other felonies. He was given a choice of dropping his sentence down to 20 years but he DENIED it. Now American taxpayers will have to feed him, provide a roof over his head and medical care. This man was probably homeless or had very little to call his own. He probably figured jail was a better way to go.

  12. Nina Reid

    Seems his punishment is more of a protection for the rest of the world from his bad deeds rather than punishment for this one bad deed of rib theft. The news always knows how to title the story to get the reaction they want.. My hat is off to the Judge who realized this man chooses to remain a criminal all his life, he has proven he cannot be rehabilitated after so many fails, so it is time to remove him as a threat to others.

  13. Richard Savoy

    Down on his luck? Lol. He's a habitual criminal including robbery. Lock him up before he robs and kills someone.

  14. Richard Savoy

    Not at all. Lock him up. Read his rap sheet. Habitual criminal including robbery , choose a lifestyle of crime. Do the time. He can keep the ribs to keep bubba off his butt.

  15. Richard Savoy

    Not at all. Lock him up. Read his rap sheet. Habitual criminal including robbery , choose a lifestyle of crime. Do the time. He can keep the ribs to keep bubba off his butt.

  16. Cynthia Quintero

    While I agree that this guy has a criminal history and should be punished for being a repeat offender, I cannot agree with a 50 year sentence for stealing some ribs. It is truly sad that some that should be hit with the full extent of the law are not, and that others are unfairly sentenced. My sons uncle survived being stabbed 67 times, just to watch the guy that did it get a nine year sentence. That was like six years ago, its terrifies me to think in a few years, that animal will be back on the streets. O_o

  17. Cynthia Quintero

    While I agree that this guy has a criminal history and should be punished for being a repeat offender, I cannot agree with a 50 year sentence for stealing some ribs. It is truly sad that some that should be hit with the full extent of the law are not, and that others are unfairly sentenced. My sons uncle survived being stabbed 67 times, just to watch the guy that did it get a nine year sentence. That was like six years ago, its terrifies me to think in a few years, that animal will be back on the streets. O_o

  18. Night Rider

    The headline/lede says 'Theft', but in the article they call it a robbery, since a weapon (knife) was used. But hey, '50 years for ribs theft' is much more sensational than '50 years for robbery and repeated pattern of criminal behavior'. Given this guy's history, I'm guessing that the jury decided they'd rather put him away now, than have to deal with him on a murder charge later. Plus, he'll probably only have to do the 25% of the sentence, so 12 1/2 years, given his priors, is about right. Maybe even a little light, in my opinion.

  19. Kathy Hager-Miller

    About time, we let these scum go over and over again, commiting more crimes. should we leave him out so next time he can kill someone when he robs them… We need to have a 3 strike law in every state. If he did not learn from the first crime, too bad….

  20. John Gaddis

    You are absolutely correct! Many like him are in prison because they actually have an easier time there than in society @ large.

  21. Lauren Glenn

    And those who created the global economic mess pay a fraction of what they made and see no jail time. At least they didn't try to steal $35 worth of ribs…. :/

  22. Shiya Saleil N Joliyah

    Savoy sound a little racist to me! If he were white would you be saying all this!

  23. Eileen Chrisman Fry

    This is why more of our citizenry is incarcerated than any other nation on Earth. We're #1!!! Yay.

  24. Andy Decker

    This isn't how the law is supposed to work. He did the time for his previous crimes. When did the whole become greater than the sum of it's part? I've never heard of legal gestalt.

  25. Andy Decker

    jail as a means to get food and shelter is an arrogant statement. Being locked in a 6×8 cage 23 hours a day with murderes and rapists is not better than "society at large." What a bunch of privileged know-nothing assholes you are. That's like saying all homeless should move to Florida where it's warm. Pull your head out your ass eh.

  26. Andy Decker

    I thought Texans were conservative. I didn't know they were a bunch of fiscal liberals who go around spending hundreds of thousands over a $30 crime. According to the conservatives, it's the Store Owner's fault for not shooting his brains out, right? Or is government the good guy here who took an American citizen and put him in prison for 50 years without having ever killed or raped or caused mayhem, I can never tell with conservatives what they mean.

  27. Andy Decker

    I thought Texans were conservative. I didn't know they were a bunch of fiscal liberals who go around spending hundreds of thousands over a $30 crime. According to the conservatives, it's the Store Owner's fault for not shooting his brains out, right? Or is government the good guy here who took an American citizen and put him in prison for 50 years without having ever killed or raped or caused mayhem, I can never tell with conservatives what they mean.

  28. Cynthia Quintero

    You're a dork bro! This was a serious post!!

  29. Michael Thomas Weldon

    Lets not fix our world so we do not breed people that are lost like he is, lets just stay the same, believe the same things and let the ones who leed us and who have always led us determine what is right and wrong. They always say that they will fix our problems (by doing the same as everyone before) and we believe them. Then we severely punish the ones hurt the most by our ways for not being lucky enough to have been born into a situation that can in the least; sustain them. Do not go after the real criminals who create this world and obtain the most from it. Go after the ones that are least able to hurt you…

  30. Fay Thacker

    No it's not racist ,,,,,we been screaming a very long time for them to make repeaters wish they were good little boys and girls,,,,,now if they would just bring back hanging for child molesters and child abuse ,,we would be feeling a little better,,

  31. Jim Callahan

    where'd you get that idea? charge someone with a sex crime, they throw away the key. if you do get out, your life is over. Only proof required is someone's word. Do people lie?

  32. Fay Thacker

    Shiya, why the race card all the time,,,a dead beet is a dead beat no matter the color, the religion ,the sex..the two strikes your out law was supposed to make sure of taking people off the streets who couldn't or wouldn't be rehabilitated ,,,

  33. Scott Eaton

    50 years is kind of excessive…5 would have been more reasonable….let him out then beat the shit out of him as a reminder.

  34. Andy Decker

    This is essentially pre-crime sentencing. I didn't get to see his Minority Report though to know. If he does 10 burglaries in his life and each carries a five to ten, then he does actually do a life sentence. Each to it's own justice in sequential order. Scary. Very scary. 3-strikes has resulted in a lot of hurt families. It's not just those in prison who are sentenced you know.

  35. Gene Stephens

    I am a police officer and have advocated this for years. The monetary value is irrelevant, he is a REPEAT OFFENDER who has no respect for society. He is a predator and thus should be locked away period. Most violent offenders have been convicted numerous times of petty crimes also and then turned loose on people again and again by the courts. This should be universal. A certain # of misdemeanor crimes and we lock you away forever. Remember, these are only the things he got caught doing.

  36. Derrel Thompson

    sorry @Shiya Saleil N Joliyah… but the vast majority of Caucasians , hispanic and asian people are just not that stupid.

  37. Maya Doinwhatido Sullivan

    I wouldn't say he's racist simply because of his view points on this topic. I think he is angry at all people that habitually commit crimes. Some people do NOT care that some commit crimes due to poverty, but even poverty doesn't justify being a repeat offenders. The guy in the report is wrong, no matter how we try to analyze it…he victimized someone. We all NEED things, but most of us do NOT steal to get them. Fifty years doesn't seem fair for a black nor white person for this offense.

  38. Cyndi Cumbee Tant

    The thing is he is a repeat offender. He has not learned his lesson. He gets out and does another crime. Better to keep him in prison before he ends up killing someone. When they sentenced him they had to look at his rap sheet and take it into consideration.

  39. Michael L. McConnell

    Texas mentality. if it only cost $35,000.00 a year it will cost $1,750,000.00 I would have put him on an allowance before I would spend this kind of $$$ to lock him up.

  40. Karen Herzog Bryce

    I didn't see any mention of murder in this article. Yes….the guy is a robber/thief and habitual criminal…..but I did not see any indication that he had attempted or committed murder. Why should this guy get MORE jail time than a rapist or murderer….who actually DID commit violent crime/s against innocent people? The punishment should fit the CRIME…..period!! It should not be based on whether the person is a repeat offender or not. The guy already did the time for his previous crimes!

  41. Karen Herzog Bryce

    @ Cyndi Cumbee Tant: I didn't see any mention of murder in this article. Yes….the guy is a robber/thief and habitual criminal…..but I did not see any indication that he had attempted or committed murder. Why should this guy get MORE jail time than a rapist or murderer….who actually DID commit violent crime/s against innocent people? The punishment should fit the CRIME…..period!! It should not be based on whether the person is a repeat offender or not. The guy already did the time for his previous crimes!

  42. Tink Zomby

    The right to use the race card was forfeited in 2008.

  43. Kalena Kenny

    Overkill! Cruel and unusual punishment for real, he should get sometime but not 50 years, he didn't physically hurt another person. I think its an unjustified, unreasonable sentence, he should appeal

  44. Tim Runyon

    50 years? For a measly rack of rib's? No matter what his past is there is no justification for a sentence of 50 years for a rack of rib's. Has the state of Texas become nothing more than a corrupt dictatorship such as Iran or North Korea?

  45. Karen Herzog Bryce

    @ Night Rider: I didn't see any mention of murder in this article. Yes….the guy is a robber/thief and habitual criminal…..but I did not see any indication that he had attempted or committed murder. Why should this guy get MORE jail time than a rapist or murderer….who actually DID commit violent crime/s against innocent people? The punishment should fit the CRIME…..period!! It should not be based on whether the person is a repeat offender or not. The guy already did the time for his previous crimes!

    Have you ever seen the Stephen Spielberg movie *Minority Report*? It's a futuristic sci-fi about catching criminals BEFORE they actually commit any crime, based on precognitive predictions by 3 super-psychically gifted humans….. The name of the person appears on a report, which is sent to the PreCrime Police……who then hunt down this person and send them away for those supposed crimes…..all because their name/s appeared on a future prediction report generated by the 3 psychics.

    What you're saying is basically the same…."Given this guy's history, I'm guessing that the jury decided they'd rather put him away now, than have to deal with him on a murder charge later." I'm guessing that you agree with the jury. Lock him up before kills someone. Put this guy in jail for 50 years….because he MIGHT commit murder! That's just WRONG!!!

  46. Karen Herzog Bryce

    @ Niki Moore: Really? What if this man is mentally retarded? Or has severe learning disabilities? What if he was not able to finish school or graduate, and has no H.S. diploma or GED? Did that ever occur to you? What if he has no work history, and no hope of getting any experience to get hired? You have to have at least a H.S. diploma or GED to get ANY job here in the U.S.A. What if he is homeless? Maybe he has no other options! What if stealing & committing robbery is his only way to support himself? Maybe he doesn't know anything else, or have any other way of staying alive. Does he DESERVE to be punished because he lacks the resources and necessary credentials to live properly in this society? I'm not excusing his crimes…..but people like that obviously need help…..not punishment.

    It's far too easy for those of us who got our education/s, and have a work history to judge those who did not get or finish their education, and have no work history. To judge those who have fallen on hard times, and don't have the options that the rest of us take for granted……is just wrong!

    I really don't know what this man's circumstances are……the article didn't say. But I'm merely pointing out that it is entirely possible that there are some very valid underlying reasons for why he has 'chosen' his lifestyle……reasons that are beyond his control…..which means that his so-called 'choice' really wasn't up to him at all. <<<*food for thought*>>>

  47. Heather Hyden

    It seems to me this man is very desperate to get back into jail.. He was offered a plea bargain than turned it down.. Honestly 50 years is ridiculous since he has been convicted of his crimes, but I suppose that's Texas for you…

  48. Gerald Bell

    You expect this type ofracial justice in TExas its a real part of hell they got more devilracist judges and pastors than the devil himself has on role call definitely a stay away state sickess justice system on the planet they frame more people than the devil himself all on their way to hell guaranteed spot in the black fire Texas were racism is the norm day in and day out now you know why they love dogs more than people.

  49. Niki Moore

    YES!!!Karen Bryce REALLY !! You have a lot of What IF's???? The facts are in the story ..YOUR life is what you make it. If he made a choice that lead him to crime lady that was his choice. Why make excuses of his crime. If you do a crime you deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law!

  50. Niki Moore

    YES!!!Karen Bryce REALLY !! You have a lot of What IF's???? The facts are in the story ..YOUR life is what you make it. If he made a choice that lead him to crime lady that was his choice. Why make excuses of his crime. If you do a crime you deserve to be punished to the full extent of the law!

  51. Dwayne Greer

    I see a lot of convicted criminal, murder, bankrobbery, and a lot more servere crimes that receive a lot less.

  52. Tracey Walker

    I think that the stealing of the ribs was the last straw in thid man.s life of crime. I think when you add up all his crimes that 50 Yeats is one less repeat offended out causing mote problems. I thi.k all states.need to enact the 3 strikes and your in jail for life. I think alot og the crime would diminish. Er are too easy on repeat offenders. And if you are on death row, your life should be forfeit and people who are waiting for things like livers,hearts ect. I think these jailbirds need their rights taken away and be used for peopke who are dying and on waiting lists. .o rights should be given to people in jail. You lost your rigjts whrn you went to jail and instead of us tax payers paying for people on death row and lifets for years, well, you just became organ donors.

  53. Renee Gilbert

    this is so wrong! a petty time thief, hungry come-on texas your state is messed up! just as the post ive read, murderers, cho-mos hard core criminals, if the damn system changed and put inmates to work and teach a trade instead of sending all our $$$ to china, we would be on our way out of debt and give a person a chance to become a bonified working class citizen… but instead we house, feed and release with the same mentality that got them to prison in the first place….. I'm an x meth-head been clean since 98, thank YOU JESUS.. people can change….

  54. Mary Roberts

    Oh Renee Gilbert you need to read the whole thing the ass should have gotten double what he got

  55. Night Rider

    @Karen Bryce: "In the past, Ward has been convicted of felonies including attempted robbery, cocaine possession, burglary, aggravated assault, and leaving the scene of an accident. In addition, he has been convicted of two thefts, and four misdemeanors in total."

    Yeah, he's just a misunderstood boy scout. Notice the ag assault charge there, and the repeated pattern of behavior? You did see the part where he a used knife in the robbery, right? Past performance indicates future outcomes. Past crimes can't usually be introduced in the trial stage, but the justice system has always considered previous criminal behavior in sentencing. And yes, I saw 'Minority Report'. It was a lousy movie. This guy wasn't convicted and sentenced on what he might do in the future, although that was most likely in the jury's mind, he was convicted and sentenced based on his current and past actions. And you did read the sentence that says he only has to serve 25% of the time before he is eligible for parole, didn't you?

    Karen Bryce wrote: "It should not be based on whether the person is a repeat offender or not. The guy already did the time for his previous crimes!"
    Really? So you think multi-DUI offenders shouldn't be charged with any thing other than a first offense for every DUI conviction? It's the same thing isn't it? After you pay your fine and serve your jail time and your license is reinstated does that wipe the slate clean?

    What is WRONG is sentencing people to jail over minor drug possession, letting convicted child molesters serve minimal sentences, and letting bankers who break the law off the hook because they are 'white collar criminals'.