A Fremont man was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for compromising a gaming machine at Brady’s Meats and Foods, and conspiring with others to steal more than $4,000 from its contents.
Zackery J. Carlstrom, 27, pleaded guilty in Dodge County District Court to conspiracy to commit theft and possession of burglary tools, both class IV felonies, each punishable by zero to two years in prison.
Carlstrom made the plea as part of an agreement with the Dodge County Attorney’s office. The agreement included a joint recommendation for a two-year sentence on the conspiracy charge and an 18-month sentence on the possession charge, with the sentences set to run concurrently.
The sentencing will also run concurrently to a pending case in County Court. The state did not seek restitution in the matter.
Carlstrom agreed to waive a pre-sentencing investigation and proceed to sentencing on Monday. District Court Judge Geoffrey Hall followed the sentencing recommendation outlined in the plea agreement.
In addition to two years in prison, Carlstrom will serve nine months of post-release supervision. He received credit for 87 days previously served. Under Nebraska’s Good Time Law, Carlstrom will serve a minimum of one year in prison.
Dodge County Deputy Attorney Emily Beamis said in court on Monday that Carlstrom broke the padlock on the gaming machine. Between Nov. 24 and 25 of 2018, he conspired with five individuals to steal cash and winning gaming tickets that could be redeemed in-store for additional money.
Carlstrom was seen on surveillance video removing the padlock of the machine, according to a police affidavit. He and other individuals were seen stealing the machine’s contents, including cash and winning tickets. The other individuals were seen cashing the winning tickets and later provided some of the winnings to Carlstrom.
Brady’s employees told law enforcement that a total of six individuals cashed in winning tickets between the two days, the affidavit says. The total loss, between both the improperly acquired winning tickets and the contents stolen from the machine, came to nearly $4,300.
Officers from the III Corps Drug Task Force arrested Carlstrom on a warrant on Dec. 13. During a subsequent search, officers found a crowbar, a pocket knife, needle-nose pliers and a flat-head screwdriver on Carlstrom’s person, according to a police affidavit. Those items were suspected of being used to compromise the Brady’s machine in the November theft.
An additional class IV felony charge was dropped in plea negotiations.
Class IV felonies typically carry a presumption of probation, indicating that a defendant will receive probation unless there’s a significant reason otherwise. The presumption was overcome in this case because of the joint sentencing agreement and Carlstrom’s criminal history.
In court on Monday, Hall urged Carlstrom to change his lifestyle and earn a living in a “respectable and admirable way.” As part of his post-release supervision sentence, Carlstrom is required to work or seek work and take employment enhancement programming offered by the Nebraska probation office.
“This has got to be a weary life,” Hall said. “You’re not good at thieving and burglary, that’s a proven fact. You’ll end up in jail. Get a career, a trade, support yourself and your family.”
In other district court news from Monday:
*Neal R. Connick, 33, of Cedar Bluffs, was sentenced to 30 months of intensive supervised probation for possession of a controlled substance and for failing to register a correct address in the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry. He pleaded to both charges in January.
*Alicia Utterback, 30, sentenced to 30 months of intensive supervised probation for possession of a controlled substance, which she pleaded guilty to in November. Beamis expressed concern about Utterback’s limited cooperation with a pre-sentence investigation but did not oppose a sentence of probation.
*Raymond L. Kalkas, 48, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered and sentencing was set for May 6.