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Area man gets 3 years probation for forgery

An area man was sentenced last week in Pierce County Circuit Court to three years probation after pleading guilty to one count of forgery.

Timothy J. Rubbelke, 36, was originally charged last May with 13 counts of forgery, along with two counts of misdemeanor fraudulent credit card use.

The charges stem from a seven-day span in August 2007, when Tim Henrich of Spring Valley reported his house had been burglarized and a box of checks had been taken. The same day, both the-then Red Barn Banquet and Auction Hall and Team Oil Travel Center notified the Pierce County Sheriff's Department Henrich's checks were being passed at their businesses.

Prior to that incident, Team Oil employees told the sheriff's department the same suspect was at their business twice trying to pass checks--one belonging to a Prairie Farm man and the other from a Dunn County couple. Both alerted their local sheriff's department their checks were stolen.

The day after the Henrich burglary, Team Oil employees alerted the sheriff's department the same suspect was back at their business. Sheriff's deputies were unable to catch the suspect, but found the license plate on the vehicle was reported stolen by the Rusk County Sheriff's Department. Rusk officials notified Pierce officials the suspect in the stolen vehicle was believed to be Rubbelke.

In early September, Rubbelke was arrested in Barron County, where he's from, on a probation pickup. He admitted to receiving the Henrichs' and the checks belonging to the Prairie Farm and the Dunn County couple. He stated he would purchase drugs with those checks, specifically crack cocaine.

He denied involvement in the burglaries in which the checks were obtained. When asked about his frequency in visiting Team Oil, he responded he went there because he knew he could write the checks for "quite a bit" over the purchase amount.

Rubbelke was on a warrant in the Pierce County case for the last five months until the beginning of this month. Assistant County District Attorney Bill Thorie explained Rubbelke was at the Moose Lake (Minn.) Correctional Facility during that time, serving a sentence for vehicle theft.

Thorie said the traditional court process (i.e., initial appearance, preliminary hearing, etc.) was waived in this case because Rubbelke admitted to the forgery and he was also facing charges in St. Croix, Dunn and Barron counties. He's already been sentenced in St. Croix and will be sentenced in Dunn March 30.

Thorie added that, once he's done in Wisconsin, Rubbelke will head back to Moose Lake to finish his time there. The Pierce term will run concurrent with any other term he gets from another county. Terms of Pierce probation are restitution, court costs, cooperate with law enforcement and maintain absolute sobriety.

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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