A man who accepted a plea agreement for stealing from Walmart and then failed to appear at his sentencing in December was sentenced to prison Tuesday in Washington County District Court.
Anthony Stokes, 27, pleaded guilty Nov. 12 to theft by unlawful taking-subsequent offense, a Class 4 felony. He was released after posting bond, but failed to appear at his sentencing, which was scheduled for Dec. 23.
Stokes was later arrested on a warrant.
Stokes' attorney, Timothy Sopinski of Fremont, said his client had some “pretty significant personal issues come up,” which led to him missing the hearing.
“It's no excuse,” Sopinski said.
Judge John E. Samson admonished Stokes, who also didn't meet with a probation officer for a presentence investigation.
“You realize all it took was a phone call to your attorney,” he said.
Stokes was seeking probation. However, Samson said he was not a good candidate. He noted Stokes had more than 10 convictions for theft.
“Probation is something to be earned by you,” Samson said. “It's not a right, it's a privilege.”
Samson sentenced Stokes to 13 months in the Nebraska Department of Corrections and nine months post-release supervision.
Stokes was charged in April and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
According to an arrest affidavit, Blair police were dispatched to Walmart, 1882 Holly St., at approximately 1:51 a.m. Feb. 12, 2019, for a shoplifting that had just occurred.
An employee told officers three men had entered the store, leaving 10 minutes later with carts filled with items. They did not pay for the items. The witness told officers the men got into a red SUV and fled southbound.
Officers located several discarded items strewn about Holly Street, some with security devices still attached. Two carts were also found in a front parking stall with some merchandise still inside. The total amount of the merchandise taken was $852.
Surveillance video showed three men enter the store at 1:20 a.m. One was wearing a gray hoodie with a white logo on the front and jeans. The second was tall with a large build, dark goatee, wearing a black coat and black sweat pants. The third was wearing a blue hoodie and jeans.
After filling the carts with various merchandise, the suspects gathered near the produce section at the front of the store. When an employee left the entrance area, they ran out and quickly loaded items in the vehicle and drove off with the rear hatch still ajar.
Officers identified the man in the gray hoodie as Stokes.