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Appeal planned for son of man charged in fox urine case

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WILLMAR -- Thomas Albert Wagar is appealing his misdemeanor conviction for receiving stolen property.

Wagar, 25, of Minneapolis, was convicted in November 2009 for possessing military night vision goggles used by his father -- Scott Edward Wagar -- during a Sept. 16, 2008, homecoming incident in rural Willmar that included spraying teens with a squirt gun filled with water and fox urine.

Both father and son were charged in January 2009 with a felony for receiving stolen property for having the goggles. The Kandiyohi County jury that convicted Thomas Wagar reduced the value of the goggles, essentially reducing the conviction to misdemeanor level.

All of the charges connected to the homecoming incident -- including misdemeanors for fifth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and theft -- against Scott Wagar, 51, of Willmar, were dismissed in March 2009.

The younger Wagar was sentenced in January to 30 days in jail, which was stayed, a $500 fine plus $90 in court fees and probation for at least 45 days or until the fine is paid and the night vision goggles were returned to the military and verified as undamaged.

According to Doug Kluver, the Montevideo attorney serving as Thomas Wagar's volunteer attorney, the appeals brief will be filed in July with the state Court of Appeals. A decision could come as early as September.

Kluver says that Wagar's appeals argument will be that there was never any evidence introduced at the trial that the goggles were either lost or stolen.

During the trial, the goggles were identified as part of a lot of 642 pairs of goggles purchased by the military and shipped to Iraq. Wagar, who served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq, testified during the trial that he found the goggles on top of a barrier after he had returned from a convoy mission.

He said he brought them to the Camp Fallujah dispatch shack and asked if anyone had reported them missing. "It was decided that I should hold onto them until someone claimed them," he said.

Wagar shipped out of Iraq about three months later, still with the goggles in his possession. He passed through military customs in Kuwait, where all of his possessions and gear were examined. The person examining his gear did not take the goggles, he said, so he packed them back into his gear and eventually gave them to his father as a gift.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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