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Granite Falls, Minn., man to pay restitution, serve jail time for Montevideo burglaries

MONTEVIDEO -- A defendant accused of having burglarized businesses in Montevideo will have to make several thousands of dollars in restitution and serve 120 days in jail, or face a possible 18-month prison sentence.

Erik Fultz, 33, of rural Granite Falls, was sentenced Tuesday afternoon in District Court in Montevideo on felony convictions for two counts of criminal damage to property in the first degree and one count of third degree burglary. The sentences will run concurrently -- or at the same time.

The court stayed prison sentences of 15 months on the criminal damage to property convictions and 18 months for the burglary conviction. The stays require that he serve 120 days in jail and make restitution as yet to be determined, according to Chippewa County Attorney David Gilbertson.

Fultz was given credit for 54 days he has served in jail since his arrest.

Gilbertson said the court is still waiting for information from two of the businesses to determine the restitution. Fultz was accused of breaking doors, cabinets and, in one case, a business safe that contained more than $3,000 in cash.

He was charged with burglarizing or attempting to burglarize five different Montevideo businesses since Feb. 24.

Fultz admitted that he chose the businesses to burglarize while walking around the community. He was seeking what cash he could find in them.

Montevideo police officers took Fultz into custody after executing a search warrant April 16 at a residence in Montevideo. The complaint alleged that after questioning, Fultz admitted to breaking into Midwest Collision twice, Art's Dairy Freeze, the Minnwest Bank ATM Machine, Klein Bank and Plaza Theater.

Police recovered lock picking tools left behind at some of the burglary scenes. They found similar lock picking tools in Fultz's coat pocket when executing the search warrant. They also recovered lock picks, white latex gloves and white gloves with black dots on them.

Fultz's arrest was made possible after Montevideo Police Officer George Eklund was on patrol April 15 and spotted an individual who looked like the person on a surveillance video of the attempted ATM machine burglary. The officer made contact with the man and learned he was Fultz, according to the complaint.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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