2010-04-21 / For The Record

Probation awarded in theft cases

By Anne Marie Kyzer

Two men were sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to their involvement in thefts that took place in Burke County in 2009.

Cole Teal, 33, of Florida pleaded guilty to two counts of theft by taking making off with a roommate’s vehicle and taking a lawn mower from a Waynesboro business.

Last September, Teal stole some cash and other items from a house he was staying at and took off in his roommate’s car. Though the car was recovered the following day, the other items were gone. Several days later, a lawn mower was taken from Rowell Electric.

After Teal was arrested, the lawn mower was also recovered.

According to assistant district attorney Falin Rogers, the victims in the case were mainly concerned with restitution and the state was not opposed to probation.

Superior Court Judge Carl C. Brown sentenced Teal to eight years probation and ordered him to repay the victims for their losses or damages to their property.

Restitution will total about $3,400 for both victims.

Judge Brown also fined Teal $1,500 and ordered him to have no future contact with the victims.

In an unrelated case, Christopher Whitfield pleaded guilty to theft by receiving stolen property for an August 2009 incident in Sardis.

According to Rogers, the victim returned home one day to find an air conditioning unit missing, and a neighbor reported seeing Whitfield and another male around the house.

The unit was later recovered. Defense attorney Jason Hasty said Whitfield made a bad decision that day and helped someone store the unit which he should have known was stolen.

The state did not recommend any jail time for Whitfield.

Judge Brown sentenced Whitfield to five years probation and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine. The fine may be satisfied with community service.

“You have to stay out of trouble,” Judge Brown told him. “If you come back, I can remove this sentence and sentence you up to ten years.”

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