PLATTSMOUTH – A Plattsmouth woman who helped steal all-terrain vehicles from a Linder Lakes location last year will spend time in state prison for the crime.
Tasha Johnson, 31, appeared in Cass County District Court Monday morning for plea and sentencing hearings. Johnson pled guilty to Class IV felony charges of theft by taking-$1,500 to $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine.
Prosecutors agreed to recommend one year in state prison on both charges. Deputy County Attorney Steven Sunde said the state would also likely dismiss five pending felony charges in a separate case if Johnson follows certain terms over the next week.
Defense attorney Julie Bear told the court Johnson wanted to seek treatment for her drug addiction. Johnson felt she would stand a better chance of receiving treatment in state prison than on her own in a probation-style setting.
Sunde said Johnson helped steal ATVs from male and female victims who were living at Linder Lakes in August 2018. The ATVs had a value between $1,500 and $5,000 at the time of the thefts.
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Plattsmouth police officers and Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to Schilling Wildlife Management Area in September after local citizens reported suspicious activity. They found Johnson and another Plattsmouth resident riding ATVs in the area.
Authorities conducted background checks on the vehicles and learned one of them had been stolen from Linder Lakes. They also located a bag that contained methamphetamine in the storage compartment of one of the vehicles. Police arrested Johnson and her male companion and transported them to Cass County Jail.
Both sides agreed to go to immediate sentencing after the plea hearing. Judge Michael Smith asked Johnson several times if she understood that there was a chance she could have received probation for a Class IV felony. Johnson said she understood that but still wanted to go to state prison.
Smith ordered Johnson to spend one year at the Nebraska Department of Corrections on both counts. Johnson will serve the terms on a consecutive basis. She will be required to spend 12 months on post-release supervision after she finishes her prison sentences.
Smith also conducted an arraignment hearing on the five pending charges. Johnson pled not guilty to all counts. Those included one drug charge, one theft charge and three weapons charges. Prosecutors could potentially dismiss all charges before the Aug. 7 trial date if Johnson cooperates with them.