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COLUMBUS — A Platte County District Court judge told a 25-year-old Columbus woman he was blending punishment for her role in a car wash burglary with his hunch that she needs some time in a correctional setting to address persistent drug issues.

“Part of the reason I’m sentencing you to 30 months in prison is punishment,” Judge Robert Steinke told April Fulmer during Friday's hearing. “The other part is because in prison there is the available programming that will allow you to address your substance abuse issues.”

The judge also gave Fulmer, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the burglary of Typhoon Car Wash, nine months of post-release supervision.

“You’re young and you have the rest of your life ahead of you,” Steinke told the mother of three children, who reached for tissues to dry her tears. “Good luck.”

The judge gave Fulmer credit for 79 days already served in the county jail.

Earlier this year, Dustin Fauth of Lincoln was sentenced to two to three years in prison for multiple burglaries of the car wash in the spring and summer of 2016.

Platte County Public Defender Tim Matas contended his client was not a willing participant in the Columbus break-ins, but forced to take part by Fauth.

The Lincoln man, who is Fulmer's former boyfriend, had burglary cases pending in district courts in Lancaster and Seward counties at the time of his April sentencing.

Fulmer was initially charged with aiding and abetting burglary and attempted burglary in connection with the four break-ins. All of the crimes were recorded by security surveillance equipment.

Video surveillance showed a silver Honda CR-V pull up to the car wash on Aug. 17, 2016, according to Columbus Police Investigator Heath Haynes’ probable cause arrest statement. The male driver of the vehicle took the change machine’s metal coin box and placed it in the vehicle, the investigator wrote.

On Aug. 27, 2016, surveillance video showed what appeared to be the same silver Honda pull up to the car wash before the driver used a hammer or similar tool to break out the window in the office area, Haynes wrote in his statement.

A change machine coin hopper, dollar bill stacker and all the money were reported missing in the burglary.

In the March 12, 2016, burglary, a black four-door vehicle believed to be a Ford Fusion was caught on video pulling up to the south side of the business, with the driver then going inside and removing the change machine, Haynes wrote.

The investigator said Fulmer was seen on video surveillance and admitted participating in the March 12 burglary and an Aug. 25 attempted burglary.

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Jim Osborn is a news reporter at The Columbus Telegram.

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