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Willmar man gets 21 months in prison for his role in burglary at Little Crow County Club

WILLMAR -- Michael Allen Nelson, 45, of Willmar, was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison on a third-degree burglary charge for his role in a series of thefts at the Little Crow Country Club of New London.

As part of his sentence handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court, Nelson was ordered to pay a $100 fine and was given credit for 212 days already se-rved in jail. Restitution was reserved for 30 days.

As part of a plea agreement, two additional charges of theft and receiving stolen property were dismissed.

Nelson and Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 39, of Spicer, were charged with the theft of a number of items from the country club from June through November 2009 and possession of those items. The items include sets of keys, golf clubs and bags, numerous smaller golf-related items, cash from a pop machine, two-way radios and 75 to 100 gallons of gasoline.

Schaeffer pleaded guilty last week to a gross misdemeanor charge for his role in the thefts.

He also pleaded to a third-degree burglary charge for burglarizing a storage shed at a Spicer residence and to a fifth-degree controlled substance charge for marijuana found at his residence. He will be sentenced Nov. 29

Law enforcement began investigating in late September 2009 after receiving an anonymous letter connecting Schaeffer to another crime.

A deputy who went to Schaeffer's residence saw items that appeared to have been stolen. During a search of Schaeffer's property, authorities found marijuana plants drying. The plants weighed 708 grams, which is nearly 1.6 pounds.

A surveillance system set up at the country club also yielded video images that appeared to show Schaeffer and Nelson stealing gasoline.

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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