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Pipe theft sentence reduced

10-year term dropped to 6.5 following appellate ruling

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 1:32 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, March 8, 2013 12:36 a.m. CST

WOODSTOCK – A former Palatine man will likely be released in a matter of months after his 10-year prison sentence was knocked down to 6 ½ years after an appellate court ruling that reduced his conviction to a lesser offense.

After a jury trial in February 2011, Brett A. Roberts, 39, was convicted of residential burglary and criminal damage to property for stealing copper pipes from a vacant home in May 2010 on Queen Anne Road near Woodstock.

A real estate agent checking on the house interrupted the burglary, and fingerprints on a pipe led investigators to Roberts, prosecutors said. In January, the Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court ruled that the house was not a “dwelling” according to the law because no one was living there and no one intended to do so within a reasonable period of time.

The owners had moved to North Carolina and did not plan to live there again. As a result, the appellate court reduced Roberts’ conviction from residential burglary, a Class 1 felony, to burglary, a Class 2 felony.

On Thursday, after a meeting between Roberts’ attorney, the prosecutor and the judge, the agreed-upon 6 ½-year sentence was handed down.

With credit for nearly 1,000 days in custody and time served, Roberts will be released in a matter of months.

Roberts has a lengthy criminal history. In McHenry County, his cases include four convictions for forgery with sentences totaling 10 ½years in prison, as well as obstructing justice and possession of a controlled substance, both of which had one-year sentences.

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