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Crystal Lake teens must pay for barn fire damages

Published: Friday, June 7, 2013 1:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 7, 2013 11:03 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – One of the two Crystal Lake teens charged with arson admitted to setting the barn fires and must repay nearly $20,000 in damages.

Andrew Wiegand, 17, pleaded guilty to arson, a Class 2 felony, on Friday before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather.

Prosecutors said Wiegand and co-defendant Joseph Gerdes, 18, were tied to a string of barn fires in rural Woodstock, Marengo and Harvard in July 2012.

Wiegand and Gerdes must pay $39,255 in restitution for damage to the barns.

Assistant State’s Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein said the teens will split the restitution, but if one or the other doesn’t pay, they are liable for the full amount.

Wiegand also was given two years’ probation, 500 hours of public service and 30 days in McHenry County Jail if those terms are not met.

Eisenstein has said Wiegand gave a videotaped confession, telling police that he started the fires because he was bored and “for the rush.”

Gerdes has not accepted a plea deal. He had a court appearance scheduled on Tuesday.

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