Man with uncontrollable desire to eat pleads no contest to stealing food


A 20-year-old man from Pismo Beach whose rare genetic disease gives him an unending desire to eat pleaded no contest this week to charges that he broke into homes in search of food, authorities said.

In exchange for pleading no contest to five misdemeanor counts that included petty theft and trespassing, Tyler Jarvis will live in a group home and complete treatment designed for those with Prader-Willi syndrome, according to the San Luis Obispo County district attorney’s office. If he completes the residential treatment program, he’ll avoid jail time, prosecutors said.

Prader-Willi is a rare genetic disorder – it occurs in one out of every 15,000 births – and those with the condition have a nagging, uncontrollable appetite, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


The syndrome is the leading genetic disorder that causes extreme obesity in children, and there is no cure.

According to prosecutors, Jarvis entered two homes in the fall of 2014, stealing food and other personal belongings. He also tried to enter a third home.

Prosecutors charged Jarvis with several felonies and misdemeanors, including vandalism and residential burglary, but those counts were dropped in the plea deal.

San Luis Obispo County Dist. Atty. Dan Dow said in a statement that his office tried to seek a “just outcome” that recognized the community’s safety and Jarvis’ genetic disorder.

“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,” Dow said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 17 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

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