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Jared Layne Gray's short criminal career was brilliantly successful, but, in the end, lonely and miserably disgraceful.

Wednesday afternoon, the remorseful Gray was sentenced to six months in a minimum-security federal prison camp. He turned himself in 26 days after his crime, along with most of the $2.7 million he stole last May from the Wells Fargo truck he drove."I'll give you a break. It's a genuine break," said U.S. District Chief Judge Bruce S. Jenkins. The 26-year-old Murray resident also must repay the $27,998 he spent before he turned in the balance.

Gray was sentenced to five years in prison; then the term was suspended and he was placed on probation for five years.

On May 5, Gray was driving a Wells Fargo truck back from a run to Idaho, where he and two other guards had picked up money from banks to be deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank. He pulled over at a Texaco gas station-convenience store near the Corinne turnoff on I-15.

While his partners slept, Gray wedged two blocks of wood in the doors to keep the others in the cab area, then opened the back and took the money. He drove away in a pickup truck, abandoned it and transferred the money to another that he had just bought and registered in a friend's name.

About 90 minutes later, Gray telephoned his brother, Farrell Gray, Murray, telling him he had stolen the money, and that he was sorry he had embarrassed the family. Twenty-six days later, he surrendered to FBI agents, who were not hot on his trail.

"I realize the importance of this, and what I did was completely out of my nature," Gray said. "I was obsessed with the idea there was an easy out."

Jenkins asked what he meant by easy out, and Gray said, "I owed money to the IRS, stuff like that; car payments."

He has been in jail and spent three months in the federal halfway house. He commented, "If I had any idea what the jails were like . . . I wouldn't even think about it."

Asked by Jenkins to comment on the friends and relatives who have stood by him, Gray said, "I appreciate everything they've done . . . I apologize to them."

Jenkins said a thorough background check confirmed that Gray has not lived a criminal life up to now. "This is indeed a mutation," he said.

After he sentenced him, he warned Gray that he would be sent to prison if he violates the probation conditions.

Jenkins said, "Let's see how well you can continue to do." He can earn back his self respect, the judge said.

Asked to comment on the relatively mild sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard N. Lambert said, "It was a lot of money, but on the other hand he turned himself in and gave most of it back."

Gray's attorney, Ronald Kunz, said Gray spent most of his time hiding out in Las Vegas. He rented an apartment and bought furniture and other furnishings. He stocked it and bought it a used car, he said.

He "doesn't have extravagant tastes," Kunz said.

Gray kept receipts for the money he spent, anticipating turning himself in, the lawyer said. Most of the property has been sold, and the proceeds also went back to Wells Fargo.

After he surrendered, Gray talked with the FBI and Wells Fargo and "was very cooperative and very honest," Kunz said.