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Interview with Jeff Hopper: Thief in the House book

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Vinton resident Jeff Hopper's journey through this life has veered farther off the beaten path than most of us travel. His effort to explain this path — littered with failure as a man and father and straightened through divine intervention — has resulted in a book taken from 12 journals written by him.

Thief in the House, published by Bush Publishing and Associates and released last October, is touted as "A real Ocean's Eleven story of a Texas family that robs a mob-owned casino twice." The book takes the reader from Hopper's troubled youth in Texas through the $1.1 million heist of the Stardust Casino in Las Vegas in 1996 when he was 26, then on to the fallout and eventual restoration of his family.

In a recent interview with the Southwest Daily News, Hopper shared some of his story.

"I spent four years in prison," he said. "For anyone who's been to jail, one day is enough. The first to the last day locked up I spent all the same way - missing family and thinking how to stay out [of prison]."

Hopper said that in the middle of his sentence, he was visited by a representative of the Angel Tree Prison Ministry. The Christian group ministers to inmates and their families.

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