COLUMBUS — A Duncan man should have found a better spot to dump his trash if he was planning to steal a pickup from outside a home last November.

Morshawn Hawkins pleaded no contest in Platte County District Court to theft-receiving stolen property over $5,000 in connection with a stolen pickup found abandoned near a grove of trees to the east of the residence where it was taken.

The vehicle was next to a large pile of trash, which included evidence that led law enforcement authorities to the thief’s doorstep.

Judge Robert Steinke scheduled Hawkins, 21, for sentencing March 16.

The conviction is a Class 2A felony, punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. In exchange for Hawkins’ plea, the prosecution dismissed charges of possession of a controlled substance and obstructing a police officer.

The defendant, whose bond was continued at $100,000, 10 percent allowed for release, has been in custody since being arrested in mid-November.

A Platte County Sheriff’s Office investigation got underway Nov. 14 with a report from a Duncan man that his vehicle had been stolen overnight from outside his home then parked to the east of the residence with a trash pile nearby.

Deputy Justin Grant reported in his arrest statement that while going through the discarded trash he found mail and a vehicle registration addressed to a local man living at another residence in the village.

While he was sifting through the trash, the deputy said an area man arrived to report that a motorcycle and four-wheeler, valued at approximately $10,000, had been stolen during the night from his property north of town.

The area man left for about 20 minutes, Grant wrote in his statement, then returned to report he followed the tracks from the four-wheeler to the same Duncan residence that appeared to be the source of the trash pile.