Farmer gets jail for stealing neighbor's cornA Mitchell-area farmer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $13,722.21 in restitution for stealing more than 750 bushels of corn from his neighbor in December.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
A Mitchell-area farmer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $13,722.21 in restitution for stealing more than 750 bushels of corn from his neighbor in December.
Scott Suelflow, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft on May 31, more than five months after he was arrested for stealing corn out of storage bins on the farm of Gene Stehly in rural Mitchell. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop an additional count of grand theft.
In addition to jail time and restitution, Suelflow was fined $1,000, put on probation for two years and told to write a letter of apology to Stehly. Judge Sean O’Brien granted Suelflow a suspended imposition of sentence, which means if Suelflow adheres to the terms of his probation, the conviction will be erased from his record.
Suelflow’s attorney Doug Papendick, of Mitchell, said a recent divorce may have contributed to Suelflow’s actions.
“There is no definitive answer to why he did this,” Papendick said. “He is truly remorseful for what he has done.”
Papendick read a statement prepared by Suelflow in which he apologized to his family, friends and Stehly, and said his experience in court has changed his life.
“I think I will reemerge as a more responsible person,” he said in the statement.
O’Brien told Suelflow he was puzzled why someone with little to no criminal record would commit such a crime.
“It was an extremely dumb thing you did,” O’Brien said. “It would be nice to know more about what caused you to do something like this.”
Suelflow took 366.79 bushels of corn from Stehly’s farm early on Dec. 8, and returned early on Dec. 9 and took another 392.50 bushels. According to sales sheets from the Farmers Alliance Elevator in Mitchell, he sold both loads for $5.60 a bushel and received a total of $4,252.02.
That’s more than $9,000 less than the amount Suelflow was ordered to pay in restitution. The amount was determined through negotiations between Suelflow and Stehly, said Davison County Deputy State’s Attorney Bob O’Keefe, who declined to say if additional corn had been stolen.
Suelflow told the court he would pay all fines, restitution and court costs by today. O’Brien gave Suelflow a week to begin his jail time in order to give him time to make arrangements for the care of his son.