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Iowa thief given probation



This news story was published on March 8, 2012.
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John Mangalonzo, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –

Daniel Edward Koehler of Cedar Rapids got the short end of the stick, and it earned him a felony conviction.

He even recently testified in the trial of his former co-defendant, Jay Wesley Cates, 41, also of Cedar Rapids, and indicated Cates was the brains of the operation.

However, a jury apparently did not believe his testimony and found Cates not guilty of taking part in the theft of thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment from the Mediapolis High School.

Koehler, described as one who had been “extremely cooperative with law enforcement,” was placed on probation for three years after his five-year prison term for second -degree theft was suspended Monday.

Des Moines County prosecutor Lisa Schaefer cited a plea agreement signed with Koehler and asked for the suspended term. His probation, which will begin locally, will be transferred over to Cedar Rapids authorities.

District Court Judge Michael Schilling told the man to write an apology letter to the students, or set up an appointment with officials and orally deliver his remorse.

School officials talked to sheriff’s detectives in August and reported two Toshiba laptop computers worth nearly $1,000 each and a Motorola cable box worth $125, were taken from the campus in July.

Superintendent Greg Ray told authorities two workers from Abatement Specialties of Cedar Rapids, Koehler and Cates, were working on insulation in tunnels under the building.

Investigators said the pair were seen on video surveillance working until 12:20 a.m. on July 15.

The footage also caught the men “looking through items that did not belong to them and acting suspiciously,” authorities said.

Koehler testified Cates placed the computers and cable box into insulation while they were working at the school.

Koehler said he loaded a box into the back of their work truck.

Further, Koehler told the jury Cates mentioned about the loot once they were inside the truck.

They then took the items to an apartment they shared in Cedar Rapids.

Koehler insisted he told Cates, who he believed to have sold the goods, to get rid of the computers.

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