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Kimball man pleads guilty to first-degree burglary for stealing truck, other random items

The maximum sentence for Class 2 felonies is up to 25 years of imprisonment and an optional fine of $50,000. Hempel has not been sentenced, but will face Brule County Court again on Nov. 22 for its determination.

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CHAMBERLAIN — A 22-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday, Sept. 27 to first-degree burglary.

Michael Hempel, of Kimball, was indicted in late June for first-degree burglary, as well as multiple other charges, including first- and second-degree petty theft, identity theft and intentional damage to property, valued between $400 and $1,000.

Hempel pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, a Class 2 felony, and the rest of the charges were dropped.

According to court documents, Hempel stole a vehicle, broke into multiple houses and businesses with the intent to steal or commit a crime.

On Dec. 14, 2021, Hempel allegedly stole five credit cards from a man whom Hempel had been employed under, and attempted to purchase a bottle of Mountain Dew from a convenience store with one of the stolen cards. He also allegedly stole a pair of work boots and other tools from the same man.

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Hempel was documented on video stealing and caught on surveillance footage buying the soda from the convenience store. The clerk was also able to identify Hempel from the footage.

Court documents detail Hempel’s illegal “joy ride,” on which he allegedly stole and returned a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado.

A man reported to the police on Dec. 28, 2021, that the deadbolt to the front door of his home was unlocked, which was unusual. Shortly thereafter, he found his pickup in the garage, locked. He told police the vehicle is never locked and, when he went to get the keys, they were missing. He retrieved a second set of keys and discovered that the vehicle had 150 more miles on it than before, the gas was at a half-tank rather than full, and there was a Styrofoam cup behind the driver's seat that did not belong to him. The man then realized the house had been burglarized.

The same man also reported that a 20-pound propane tank from a gas grill was missing, as well as a key ring with a key to their shed on it, a blue propane hand-torch, and a six-gallon plastic gas can full of gas. About a week later, he reportedly discovered more items were missing from the shed.

The maximum sentence Hempel faces for the Class 2 felony is 25 years of imprisonment and a fine of $50,000. Hempel has not been sentenced, but will face Brule County Court again on Nov. 22.

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