MONTEVIDEO — A Montevideo man was sentenced Thursday in Chippewa County District Court to 21 months in prison after he pleaded guilty in July to felony first-degree damage to property related to the theft of several catalytic converters and other auto items earlier this year.
Donald Duane Schmitz, 41, of Montevideo, also was given 98 days' credit for time served after appearing before Eighth Judicial District Judge Thomas Van Hon.
Schmitz was also ordered to pay restitution and $75 in fees.
A felony theft charge was dismissed.
Schmitz was already in custody in the Faribault Minnesota Correctional Facility following a May felony drug conviction in Chippewa County where he was given a 90-month sentence.
According to the criminal complaint in the theft case, Schmitz confessed to law enforcement in January to stealing between four and six catalytic converters from a residence in Milan in Chippewa County.
The property owner who spoke with police said five catalytic converters from Audis, five radiators from Volkswagens and trim from a Kenworth semitractor — valued at $3,500 alone — were stolen. The owner also found a USB cigarette charging device, saw blades and a jack on the property.
Schmitz told law enforcement during questioning that after getting high with another man, they traveled to the Milan residence and cut off several catalytic converters before they saw a sheriff's vehicle and went to hide in the woods next to the property. He also confessed to breaking into several deer stands and smoking in them.
Schmitz told law enforcement that he could get $250 for each converter, which is an all-time high, according to Schmitz, and that's why people are stealing them.
Schmitz has previous convictions of felony second-degree burglary and felony theft in 2015 in Chippewa County.