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RF man to be sentenced for multiple burglaries

A River Falls man will be sentenced in October for multiple burglaries he committed in both Pierce and St. Croix counties.

Jonathan L. Nitchals, 22, pled guilty in Pierce County Circuit Court to five counts of burglary and possession of methamphetamine as a result of a plea hearing earlier this month. The sentencing hearing will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2.

Nitchals was originally charged in Pierce County with five counts of misdemeanor theft, four counts of entry into a locked vehicle, and criminal damage to property, three counts of burglary and possession of methamphetamine. The burglary and possession were the only felony charges. All the rest were dismissed.

Meanwhile, in St. Croix County, he was charged with three counts of burglary, one felony theft and nine misdemeanors. He pled guilty to two of the burglaries, with the rest of the charges dismissed.

The main topic of discussion during the plea hearing was whether or not to consolidate the St. Croix County charges into Pierce.

Nitchals expressed some apprehension at first, as he and attorney Brian Smestad needed about a 10-minute recess to discuss their options. Upon arrival, Nitchals agreed to the consolidation and expressed closure for this process.

"I think he fully understands the charges and wants to get this done as quickly as possible," Smestad said.

A sentencing hearing was ordered by Pepin County Circuit Court Judge James Duvall, as he agreed with Pierce County District Attorney John O'Boyle's recommendation a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) should be done due to Nitchals' prior criminal history and so the victims can be notified for restitution and/or to make a statement.

The Pierce County charges relate back to this past March when, according to the criminal complaint, Nitchals was arrested in River Falls at his residence on a probation violation, as he admitted to using both marijuana and methamphetamine.

While conducting a search warrant at the home, River Falls police noticed in the refrigerator and freezer items having a sticker addressed on the package to the South Fork Café. Earlier that week, the café reported a burglary and the items taken matched the items found at Nitchals' apartment.

When River Falls police tried to gather more information from Nitchals, they noticed the shoes he was wearing had a similar tread pattern to footprints found at a burglary reported earlier that week at 1431 Wildcat Ct., in which seven people reported damage and/or burglary to their particular garage units. Further investigation showed the tread pattern was similar to what was found at that crime scene.

River Falls police went back to Nitchals' apartment a day later and seized a pair of Nike shoes belonging to Nitchals matching the tread pattern found at the River Falls Golf Club when it was burglarized earlier that month. Items taken during that burglary include an Old Milwaukee drill, valued at $100, a Hewlett Packard computer, valued at $100, and an unknown amount of Mountain Dew cans.

Besides the sentencing hearing on the previous crimes, Nitchals will also be sentenced for receiving stolen property and felony bail jumping. He was given three years probation concurrent for each charge last September, but his probation was revoked as a result of these latest charges.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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