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Wal-Mart calculator caper doesn’t add up for Kansas man


This news story was published on January 21, 2014.
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gavel-justiceCEDAR RAPIDS – A Kansas man who worked with others in a caper to steal calculators from an Iowa Wal-Mart and other stores plead guilty today in federal court.

Caleb Nelson, age 29, from Wichita, Kansas, agreed with others to steal high-value scientific calculators from Wal-Mart stores in multiple states and ship the calculators to New York City, New York. He pled guilty on January 21, 2014, in federal court in Cedar Rapids to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods in interstate commerce.

At the plea hearing, Nelson admitted to agreeing with others to transport over $5,000 in stolen scientific calculators. Nelson further admitted that on August 13, 2013, he and a co-conspirator drove from Wisconsin into Iowa in possession of over 200 stolen scientific calculators valued at more than $26,000. Nelson also admitted that on August 13, 2013, he and a co-conspirator stole fourteen scientific calculators valued at $1,295 from the Wal-Mart in Maquoketa, Iowa. Nelson and his co-conspirator were arrested shortly after leaving the Wal-Mart.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Nelson remains free on conditions of release pending sentencing. Nelson faces a possible maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

Nelson’s brother, Jacob Nelson, 31, also from Wichita, Kansas, previously pled guilty on November 19, 2013, for his role in the conspiracy to transport stolen calculators. Jacob Nelson’s sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Reade is set for February 4, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. at the United States District Courthouse in Cedar Rapids.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Maquoketa Police Department.  

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