In an extraordinarily busy day in Lincoln County District Court, Austin Welch, 19, of North Platte was sentenced Monday to 180 days in the county jail for violating probation for burglary. The district court docket was crowded with pleas and sentencings because criminal cases had not been heard for two weeks.
Welch was given credit for 76 days already served.
Defense attorney Martin Troshynski told Judge Donald Rowlands that neither his client nor the probation office was interested in probation again.
Troshynski said Welch does not deserve to go to the state penitentiary, noting that his initial offense was relatively minor.
“This is only about a few cans of gas stolen when Welch was a minor, and penitentiary time would be too much,” he said.
Deputy County Attorney Tanya Roberts-Connick made no recommendation for sentencing before Rowlands handed down the 180 days.
Welch was first arrested in August 2011 along with two other North Platte men, William Butrick and Kristian Woodhouse, in connection with five burglaries.
Police said the three men broke into sheds and garages around North Platte, sometimes working alone and other times together. Homeowners reported full gasoline cans stolen. Some said outbuildings were broken into, but nothing was missing.
Later a woman called police and said three men were burning what looked like gas containers near the water at Lake Maloney. Over the next couple days, the three were arrested and admitted to burglarizing property at 1100 Reid Ave., 2800 Birchwood Rd. and 2600 Cedarberry Rd., according to a police report.
After further investigation, police found the trio had burglarized two other locations too.
Welch was released but violated the terms of his bond and was jailed again. He has been in and out of jail five times since and served a total of 142 days in jail on various offenses, according to sheriff’s records.
He also faces additional charges of assault.