Theft of Obama’s teleprompter, podium gets man 7-year prison term

It was no Republican plot, but someone made off with the teleprompter that has been the subject of conservative jokes about President Obama. Also stolen were the presidential seals. And Obama’s lectern.

In fact, Eric Brown stole enough equipment from the office of the president that he could have staged his own presidential news conference — if he hadn’t pawned some of the gear at shops in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

In federal court in Virginia on Thursday, the Richmond man, 49, was sentenced to seven years in prison for brazenly taking a truck containing $200,000 worth of audio equipment used by the president.

The October 2011 theft in Henrico County occurred days before Obama was scheduled to make a speech at a North Chesterfield, Va., fire station. Other items taken included a laptop, flag, amplifiers and microphones.

Video surveillance showed Brown’s sport-utility vehicle in the hotel lot where the truck was parked, and his cellphone records placed him at the scene, according to court records. Brown also admitted telling others about the theft.

He stashed the gear in a Hyattsville storage space, and some of it turned up at pawn shops. He also kept some audiovisual equipment that carried the presidential seal.

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