Man found guilty of breaking into homes for food
Rare genetic disease caused man to eat insatiably
–Tyler Jarvis, 20, of Pismo Beach, has entered pleas of no contest to five misdemeanor counts, one of which requires formal probation and counseling, and was found guilty by his plea of no contest to trespassing, petty theft, and attempted trespassing, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney. Jarvis entered two houses and attempted to enter a third house stealing food and other personal belongings on Sept. 26, 2014. Charges of residential burglary, attempted burglary, and vandalism were dismissed.
Jarvis is diagnosed with “Prader-Willi Syndrome,” a very rare genetic disorder that is manifested by an insatiable desire to eat. He also has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, according to reports. According to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, individuals with PWS lack normal hunger and satiety cues. They usually are not able to control their food intake and will overeat if not closely monitored. Food seeking behaviors are very common. For further information, see www.fpwr.org.
Sentencing has been set for Dec.17 in Department 5 before Judge Michael Duffy. The parties have agreed that Jarvis will be placed on formal probation for three years. He will be required to pay restitution to all three victims, and he will not serve jail time if he enrolls in and completes a residential treatment program specifically designed for Prader-Willi patients
“Our office looks at every case independently to arrive at a just outcome,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “Here, we were very concerned with both the safety of the community from the crime of residential burglary as well as finding an appropriate resolution that takes into account Mr. Jarvis’ genetic disorder that directly contributed to his criminal conduct. This is an extremely rare fact pattern and I am pleased that we were able to achieve an opportunity for Mr. Jarvis to enter a group home.”
District Attorney Dan Dow said that he is satisfied that justice is served by the resolution of the case. Jarvis can avail himself of treatment that is available, and the grant of formal probation will ensure that there will be a prompt notification in the event Jarvis leaves the program before completion, according to Dow. Dow believes that protection of the public is best served by reducing the likelihood that Jarvis will burglarize homes in the future by treating his syndrome. Further, it will reduce the likelihood that Jarvis himself is harmed – a real possibility given the fact that a startled homeowner chased him with a shovel in one of these cases.