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Restitution ordered for burglars

by Sheila Gardner, Staff Writer

Two men – neither of whom admits being responsible for a string of burglaries at Gardnerville Industrial Park late last year – were ordered Monday to pay more than $6,600 restitution to two victims.

District Judge Michael Gibbons ordered Robert Neese, 32, to pay $6,000 and Mitchell Swift, 36, to pay $650 for items that were not returned after the burglaries which occurred Thanksgiving weekend last year.

Both men pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property in a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s office. At issue Monday was whether the men could be ordered to pay restitution if they weren’t charged with burglary.

Neese’s plea agreement includes the statement, “I will be ordered to make restitution to the victim of the offenses to which I am pleading guilty and to the victim of any related offense which is being dismissed or not prosecuted pursuant to this agreement.”

He changed his plea shortly before he was to go on trial on two burglary counts and two counts of possessing stolen properties.

He was accused of burglarizing two Industrial Park businesses over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Neese, with the help of Swift, allegedly stored stolen property at a number of acquaintances’ residences in the Ranchos and tried to sell the items.

Many of the items were recovered, but two victims testified Monday about goods that were not returned.

Glenn Logan, whose mobile home was broken into while it was undergoing repairs at an Industrial Park auto shop, said movies were taken along with a cititzens’ band radio. Other stolen items were returned.

Warren Senff, owner of Warren’s Inland Marine, said he lost tools worth $6,000 that were never recovered.

“I evaluated the items by checking catalogs,” he said. “These were tools that I’ve collected over more than 25 years. When I tried to sit down to figure it out, it was really hard. Some of these tools aren’t made any more.”

Gibbons ordered Neese to pay restitution for the $6,000 in tools and Swift the $250 to the Logans, in addition to $400 for a computer monitor taken from Evergreen Electronics.

Gibbons sentenced Swift on March 30 to four years probation with an underlyng sentence of four years in prison.

At one point during the 1-1/2-hour hearing Monday, Neese took the stand to deny his involvement.

“I did not having anything to do with the burglary or break-in at Evergreen Electronics or Warren Inland Marine,” he said.

His mother testified Monday that Neese was too ill with gastroentritis that week to have participated in the break-ins.

He said he was trying to protect his friends who weren’t involved in the break-ins by lying about the stolen property. He also said investigators tried to trip him up during questioning. Neese said a footprint found at the scene which matched shoes he was wearing when taken to Douglas County Jail was left behind when he helped his mother and stepfather move out of their shop which was next door to Evergreen Electronics.

“They twisted things and tried to confuse me,” Neese said of DCSO investigators. “There’s a tape missing from my interview.”

Neese will be sentenced June 1. He faces a maximum of five years in Nevada State Prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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