Oscars' 'Gary from Chicago' Did Hard Time For This … (MUG SHOT)

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2/28/2017 12:33 PM PST

EXCLUSIVE

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Gary from Chicago — the tourist who unknowingly crashed the Oscars with his fiancee — was in prison as a third striker with a history of stealing … TMZ has learned.

Gary Alan Coe — who said he had been in jail for the last 20 years before Sunday night’s award show — was received by California Department of Corrections in 1994 for grand theft exceeding $400, and got locked up again in ’97 for petty theft with priors … and, because it was his third strike, it led to a sentence of 25 years to life with parole.

Law enforcement sources tell us he was resentenced in early 2017 under Proposition 36, and had his 25 year bid reduced to just 6. With pre-sentencing credits and time served … he walked out a free man last Thursday.

One last important thing … Gary is not a registered sex offender in California, those reports are of another guy … who happens to have the same name.

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