A Natrona County District Court judge on Friday gave a Casper man probation for breaking into the home and vehicle of an elderly couple and stealing numerous guns in July, but she did so with great reluctance, she said.

"It's a very close call," Judge Kerri Johnson told Brendon Brimmer.

"You have a horrible record for someone who's 18," Johnson said.

The case started in July 21 when Casper police officers responded to a report from a young woman who said she left her house to be with a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her two days earlier, according to a police affidavit.

She told police that man another man picked up Brimmer that night. They "car hopped," checking for unlocked cars and taking items, as well as checking apartment doors in east Casper.

She also told them her grandfather had guns.

About 12:30 a.m. July 19, the man who allegedly assaulted the girl and Brimmer went to the grandparents house on South David Street,

They cut the screen with a hatchet, entered the house and came out with multiple guns. They also took three guns from a truck.

Each man kept four guns. Officers later recovered two hand guns, according to the affidavit.

But the bloodless account in the affidavit masked the damage the home invasion caused the residents.

The female victim read a prepared statement to the court, saying she and her husband have lived in the same house for 44 years. "It now feels strangely insecure."

The home invasion and burglary caused them shock, anger and hypervigilance. They so feared they would endure another home invasion that they slept in shifts, and enhanced their home security with more outside lighting and placing bars on their windows, she said

The crime took time away from their regular lives. They had to meet with law enforcement and victim services coordinators, and had to meet with gun restorers, she said, adding some of their weapons may never function again, she said.

"All the things we routinely did were out of whack," she said.

They have lost trust in people, especially teenagers, and their health has suffered because of sleep deprivation, she said.

Her husband keeps a loaded firearm in their bedroom, and Brimmer and his accomplice could have been shot, she said.

Most disturbing for them was the betrayal by their own granddaughter for telling Brimmer and the others about the guns, she said.

She urged Johnson to impose a sentence that will help them change the course of their lives.

She and her husband have prayed for and forgiven Brimmer, their granddaughter and the others, she said. "Because of God's amazing goodness I stand here not as a victim but as a victor."

Before Johnson handed down the sentence, District Attorney Dan Itzen said Brimmer was on probation at the time of the crime. Itzen recommended a five- to seven-year prison sentence with a boot camp recommendation that, if successfully completed, may affect the length of incarceration.

Public defender Todd Infanger told Johnson that Brimmer was a minor when he committed the crime and is remorseful. Even so, the felony conviction will close a lot of doors for his future, Infanger said.

Brimmer spoke, and turned around to tell the victim how sorry he was. "I'd take it back in a second," he said as he cried.

Johnson then announced her sentence

"Probation is appropriate," she said

But Brimmer has a high price to pay for his freedom, Johnson said.

The three years of supervised probation includes no alcohol or controlled substances, no violation of any laws, counseling, submitting to random drug tests, be employed or a full-time student, pay restitution to the victims, and serve 100 hours for each year of probation, she said.

If Brimmer fails any of these terms, Johnson said she will send him to prison.