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By Sandy Schroth

South Carolina man sentenced to prison for theft of local electrician's truck


October 8, 2020

A South Carolina man who has been jailed in Nebraska since last December, was sentenced to serve not less than four, nor more than eight years in a facility under the jurisdiction of the Nebraska Department of Corrections for a crime committed in Antelope County.

Accompanied by public defender Melissa Figueroa of Norfolk, Robert Wagle was handed the sentence in the Antelope County district courtroom Sept. 30 by the Honorable Mark Johnson.

In an allocution statement, Figueroa told Johnson her client thought the vehicle belonged to his employer, instead of subcontractor, Boyd’s Electric and that the individual, with whom he struggled inside the truck, was not injured, further alleging the victim put himself in harm’s way when he entered the vehicle.

“The court does not buy for an instant that you believed it was your employer’s vehicle,” Johnson told Wagle as he reviewed sentencing guidelines with the defendant.

Regarding the assaulted individual causing his own harm, the judge said, “There is no evidence to believe this.”

The local sentence includes credit for eight days previously served and an order for restitution of $1,000 to Boyd’ Electric to cover the company’s deductible on a vehicle Wagle took and subsequently crashed in Wayne County. He was also assessed $147 costs of prosecution. He was remanded to the custody of Antelope County sheriff Bob Moore for execution of the sentence.

Assuming he loses none of his good time, Wagle must serve two years, less eight days, before he is eligible for parole and four years, less eight days, before his mandatory release. His commitment is ordered concurrent to sentences ordered in Wayne County.

Wagle was sentenced Sept. 24 in Wayne County, by the Honorable James Kube, to a total of five years on three counts.

Pursuant to a plea deal with Antelope County prosecutor Joe Abler, Wagle pleaded guilty June 24, to theft by unlawful taking, more than $5,000, a Class 2A felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ incarceration. In return, Count II, operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, a Class 4 felony, was dismissed by Abler.

Considered a “person of interest” in an investigation into the theft of a different vehicle Dec. 5, 2019, Wagle was reported to be at a wind farm laydown yard located at 846 Road and 520 Avenue.

When officers arrived at the 846 Road location, Wagle entered a 2017 Dodge Ram pickup owned by Boyd’s Electric. After foiling an attempt by a Boyd’s Electric employee to stop him, Wagle left the property eastbound on 846 Road at a high rate of speed, pursued by Moore, Neligh police chief Michael Wright and Nebraska State Patrol trooper Ray Johnson. The officers lost sight of the pickup and other area law enforcement was alerted. The truck was later sighted on Highway 15 south of Wayne. Multiple agencies pursued the vehicle, which made contact with units from both the Wayne County Sheriff's Department and the Wayne Police Department during the pursuit.

Wagle was charged with four felony and four misdemeanor counts in Wayne County. Agreement was reached June l0 and Wayne County attorney Amy Miller amended the information. On July 1, Wagle pleaded guilty to Count I, operation of a motor vehicle to avoid arrest, a Class 4 felony; Count II, attempted assault on an officer using a motor vehicle, a Class 4 felony; and Count VI, obstructing a peace officer, a Class 1 misdemeanor. The remaining five counts were dismissed. He was sentenced by Kube to serve two years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections on each Count I and Count II and one year on Count VI, all determinate terms to run consecutive to one another. In addition, post-release supervision was ordered on counts I and II. He was given credit for 293 days previously served and assessed $139.50 costs.

Wagle was represented by Wayne County public defender, Kathleen Jorgensen, and the state, by Eric Knutson, deputy Wayne County attorney.

Wagle had been remanded to the custody of the Wayne County sheriff to be held at the Platte County Jail until the Antelope County sentencing.

In other district court proceedings:

•Megan Brandt, 37, of Oakdale faced Johnson on a contempt motion, for failure to pay restitution ordered to the Village of Oakdale and costs of prosecution in a 2015 conviction. Brandt told the judge she now has full-time employment and had her son “situated.” She said she had paid $1,000 and would pay $500 or more every month. Johnson continued the show-cause hearing until Dec. 23, telling Brandt if payments were made as promised, the contempt motion would be dropped. Brandt was convicted of theft by unlawful taking and, in addition to a prison sentence, ordered to pay $25,186.37 in restitution to the village by Jan. 1, 2018. No payment was recorded until Sept. 10.

•Joe Nash Jr., 25, of Wayne appeared to show cause for failure to pay costs as ordered at his Jan. 29 sentencing for a conviction of possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony committed in December 2018. Nash had twice failed to appear for show-cause hearings and a warrant was issued for his arrest Aug. 26. He was arrested Sept. 24, when he bonded out of the Douglas County Jail. Johnson ordered costs of $167 sat out at the rate of $150 per day, giving him credit for time served, satisfying the debt.

•Jacob L. Boutwell, 42, formerly of Oakdale failed to appear to show cause for nonpayment of $702 in costs and fees ordered in his 2019 conviction of possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony committed in 2018. Abler told the judge he had information Boutwell had absconded to Arizona. Johnson ruled Abler may take steps for an arrest warrant. A revocation of probation motion was filed Sept. 18, alleging Boutwell violated his probation when he was arrested on allegations of possessing drug paraphernalia and narcotic drugs in Penal County, Arizona, on Sept. 1; failure to notify probation office of change of address before moving from Oakdale to Apache Junction, Arizona; and failure to contact probation officer since July 24.

•Shane Kelly Glasgow, 37, of Lincoln failed to appear to show cause for failure to pay $565 restitution ordered to Frances Langhorst of North Bend and $145 cost of prosecution. Glasgow was convicted of three crimes in 2015. He was slated to be released from the Nebraska Department of Corrections on Aug. 20 and ordered to appear for the show-cause hearing.

•Dennis J. Wilson, 29, of Norfolk appeared for a revocation of probation hearing. He requested court-appointed representation. Johnson appointed the public defender’s office and continued the hearing to Oct. 28.

•Pretrial proceedings for Robert E. Frazier, 48, of Neligh are continued to Oct. 28, with a jury trial scheduled Jan. 19, 2021, on a count of terroristic threats, a Class 3A felony alleged July 6 in Neligh. Bond in the amount of $10,000, 10% cash, is continued. Frazier was remanded to the custody of Moore.


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