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Two plead guilty to burglary of Wagner auto shop

WAGNER -- Two people pleaded guilty last week to the burglary at Weisser Oil in September in Wagner that led the family owned auto shop to change ownership.

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WAGNER - Two people pleaded guilty last week to the burglary at Weisser Oil in September in Wagner that led the family owned auto shop to change ownership.

Dean Honomichl, 43, of Wagner, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary, a class 5 felony, on March 21 in Mitchell, according to Charles Mix County Paralegal Tracie Feenstra. Honomichl's accomplice, Tara Smejkal, 36, of Wagner, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a third-degree burglary, a class 5 felony, on the same day.

On Sept. 24, Honomichl and Smejkal, a former Weisser Oil employee who business owners say stopped showing up for work about a month earlier, came to the auto shop for a tire change.

At about 2:15 a.m. the following night, Smejkal drove Honomichl to the Weisser Oil building. Honomichl broke into the building and took about $7,000, according to Brian Weisser, who was then a co-owner of Weisser Oil. Weisser said the incident ultimately led him and his brother, Gregg, to sell the business, which was founded by their father, Harvey.

"Times are tough out here," Weisser said. "It didn't help us any."

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Weisser continues to work in the same building, which is now operating under new ownership.

"They figured I was a pretty vital asset. I know every crack in the floor," Weisser said. "I've spent a lot of late hours here, but I guess not late enough to catch them."

Weisser said the money taken from his business would have helped it stay open longer. As soon as he saw the damage, he suspected Honomichl and Smejkal. He said he felt betrayed by his former employee.

"We did everything to her in good faith, and (employees) don't always return and keep themselves good. It was a setup," Weisser said.

The plea hearing was held in Mitchell because Honomichl was being held in the state penitentiary on two other cases, Feenstra said, and it was easier for the sheriff to transport Honomichl from Sioux Falls to Mitchell than to Wagner.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 11, and Weisser plans to attend.

"We're looking forward to the sentencing, and I will be there. I just hope justice will be done, and restitution is provided," Weisser said.

Related Topics: CRIMEWAGNER
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