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Franssen convicted of theft, heads to drug courtTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Tyler Franssen
Photo by Lincoln County Sheriff's Office
Smoked pickup

Tyler Franssen, 26, of North Platte, was convicted Monday to theft and criminal mischief in connection with a stolen pickup that started a grass fire in the hills southeast of North Platte.

Franssen was arrested after a Chevy S10 pickup from Denny’s Restaurant was stolen April 6. The truck, which belonged to an employee of Denny’s, turned up missing around 11 p.m.

Around 6 a.m. the next day, the North Platte Fire Department found the pickup in the bottom of a canyon when they were called to a grass fire on Moran Canyon Road, 2.5 miles south of State Farm Road.

The truck apparently caused the fire, which burned nearly five acres of grass and cedar trees. The truck was a total loss.

Deputies investigated and found a set of keys and traced them to Jacob Refior, 19, of North Platte. Later, investigators determined that Franssen was involved too.

Franssen admitted he took the truck when he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. He said he and Refior walked from the area of the north community college campus to Flying J that night, where they took the truck and went for a joyride. The truck got stuck in the ditch and started the grass on fire.

Lincoln County District Judge Donald Rowlands deferred sentencing so Franssen could enter the drug court program. Rowlands also ordered a drug evaluation that will be used in drug court to decide if treatment would be appropriate.

Franssen is already under drug court requirements from Douglas County, where his bond has been revoked.

In court Monday, it was discussed in court whether or not he should be sent to Douglas County.

Lincoln County Attorney Rebecca Harling and defense attorney P. Stephen Potter said they talked to officials of drug court and agreed to keep Franssen in the Lincoln County jail until he enters drug court. Both his cases will be combined. Dawson County District Judge James Doyle, who oversees the drug court program, will have jurisdiction on both cases.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/24/2013
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