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Man gets 23 months for Little Crow Country Club burglary

WILLMAR -- Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 39, of Watertown, and formerly of Spicer, was sentenced Tuesday to 23 months in prison on burglary, theft and drug possession charges.

The sentence was handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court by Judge Michael J. Thompson on the three charges -- a felony third-degree burglary charge for burglarizing a storage shed at a Spicer residence, a gross misdemeanor theft charge for a series of thefts at the Little Crow Country Cl-ub of New London and a fifth-de-gree contr-olled substance cha-rge for marijuana found at his residence.

Schaeffer was also ordered to pay $150 in fines. As part of a plea agreement, three felony charges for theft, burglary and receiving stolen property were dismissed.

Schaeffer and Michael Allen Nelson, 45, of Willmar, were charged with the theft and possession of a number of items from the country club from June through November 2009. 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.

Nelson was sentenced in October to 21 months in prison on a third-degree burglary charge. He was also ordered to pay a $100 fine and was given credit for 212 days already served in jail.

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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