COLUMBUS - A 35-year-old Lincoln man is going to prison for his role in an impromptu theft at a farm and home supply store late last winter while he and another man were passing through Columbus on the way to a court hearing in Madison County.
Platte County District Court Judge Robert Steinke sentenced Jason Bauman to 20 months to four years in prison for theft by receiving stolen property for his involvement in a March 10 theft of more than $600 in tools from Bomgaar's on 23rd Street.
Bauman was convicted by a Platte County jury Sept. 27. Deputy Platte County Attorney Morgan Smith handled the prosecution. A second defendant in the case, Roger Paul of Lincoln, is scheduled for trial in late-November.
(Editor's note: Paul was found innocent in a jury trial.)
The theft was a drive-through crime committed by Bauman while he and a friend were traveling from Lincoln to Madison County for a court hearing, Chief Deputy Platte County Attorney Demi Herman said.
"No impulse control," Herman said.
During the sentencing hearing, Steinke said he was troubled by the fact that Bauman committed the Bomgaar's theft while he was on probation for another felony conviction.
Since being found guilty in Platte County, Bauman's probation for possession of a control substance with intent to deliver was revoked by Lancaster County District Court. He was recently resentenced on that conviction to 15 to 24 months in prison.
Steinke ordered the Platte County prison sentence to run consecutively to the Lancaster County sentence. Bauman was previously sentenced to five years in prison in Kansas for a 2002 drug-related felony conviction.
"Your back is against the wall," Steinke told the married father of three biological children and two stepchildren.
The judge told the defendant a fourth conviction could result in him being charged as a habitual criminal, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
You have been unwilling to learn from your past mistakes, Steinke told the defendant.
Court documents in the case described the March theft as coming to the attention of employees when a suspect later identified as Paul activated the security alarm while leaving the store.
A store employee asked Paul to stop, but he left the store with several stolen DeWalt cordless power tools, according to an arrest affidavit filed by Columbus Police Officer Bryan Heusinkvelt.
Another man, later identified as Bauman, helped load the stolen items in their pickup, and the pair then left Bomgaar's headed west on 23rd Street, Heusinkvelt said in his statement.
But they didn't go far (Sears is next door to Bomgaar's).
Witnesses said the pair drove a short distance on 23rd Street, then went to the north side of the Sears store and dumped the evidence in the snow.
Heusinkvelt said the tools, with identifying numbers on the Bomgaar's store tags, were recovered from outside of Sears.
Herman said the defendants were attempting to get rid of the evidence after setting off the Bomgaar's security alarm.
"They didn't want to get caught red-handed,'' the prosecutor said.