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Radiator thief sentencedTell North Platte what you think

A radiator thief was sentenced to eight months in jail Monday morning in Lincoln County District Court.

James DeCent has already been in jail for 130 days, according to his attorney Robert Lindemeier. Judge Donald Rowlands gave DeCent credit for time served and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $100.

According to the pre-sentence investigation, the victim in the case claimed that DeCent had stolen more than $40,000 worth of junk from them over the years. Lindemeier said that only five radiators were discovered on DeCent’s property. The investigating deputy pegged their value at approximately $20 a piece.

“It’s not in the range of the amount of restitution that is being requested,” Lindemeier said prior to sentencing. “He didn’t take 1,000 of these (radiators), he just had a few lined up.”

Rowlands agreed that the evidence could only prove that DeCent stole five radiators. Rowlands did not believe that a prison sentenced was warranted, he said, but the theft along with DeCent’s lengthy history of landing in the county court, dating back to 1981, called for a substantial jail sentence.

DeCent opted not to address the court prior to sentencing.

In other court news:

• Elshaddai Cleffman pleaded no contest to burglary. Cleffman was convicted of breaking into the Barn Store and taking, among other things, $247 and cigarettes.

Cleffman’s sentencing was scheduled for March 14.

• Angela Housbrouck was a no-show, but Rowlands declined to issue a bench warrant until March 7.

Rowlands cited possible confusion about the time of her court appearance given her recent release from treatment and change in attorneys (Kent Florom replaced Jennifer Kearney). Both Florom and Chief Deputy County Attorney Todd Engleman indicated that a plea agreement had been reached.

• Jerry Houchin pleaded no contest to third-offense drunken driving and driving under suspension. His bond was reduced to $2,500 so he could get out of jail and resume work as a painter.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/28/2011
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