AP NEWS

City man gets sentencing delay for loader theft

April 26, 2018 GMT

COLUMBUS – A Platte County District Court judge gave a 41-year-old Columbus man an 11th-hour break from being sentenced for stealing a piece of heavy construction equipment from a job site last summer.

Judge Robert Steinke granted Shane Pritchett’s defense motion for a sentencing delay, citing the likelihood the defendant would be incarcerated, to allow for the city man to minimize the hardship on his family.

The judge postponed Pritchett’s sentencing for his conviction of theft-receiving stolen property over $5,000 until July 11. The defendant had earlier pleaded no contest to the charge, a Class 2A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

It didn’t take long for law enforcement authorities to arrest Pritchett as a suspect in the theft.

The sheriff’s office took a little more than 12 hours to pinpoint the location of a piece of heavy construction equipment that was stolen in the early morning of Aug. 24 from a construction site northeast of Columbus.

Pritchett was arrested about 16 hours after the theft of a John Deere skid loader from the site where a large hog confinement building project was underway at 37698 145th Ave. between Columbus and Creston.

The skid loader, owned by Alewelt Concrete Inc. of Alden, Iowa, was equipped with a global positioning system that pinged at 1:27 a.m. Aug. 24 when it was stolen from the site and pinged next at 1:38 p.m. when it was located in the area of Road Nine between J and K Roads in Colfax County.

Sheriff’s Investigator Dane Jensen reported the loader had a value of $55,000.

A sheriff’s office investigation began the morning of Aug. 24 with the theft report. When authorities learned the location of the stolen equipment and matched it with identification numbers, they went to speak with the owner of the Colfax County property.

“The owner of the farm identified the equipment to have been brought to his property by his son-in-law, Shane Pritchett, and that Shane stores property at his farm on a regular basis,” Investigator Dane Jensen wrote in his arrest statement.

The property owner reported having no other knowledge of the equipment Pritchett stored on his farm.

The property owner identified Pritchett’s employer in Columbus, where the suspect was arrested later Thursday afternoon.