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State v. Blauvelt

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

July 2, 2013

State of Nebraska, appellee,
v.
Preston M. Blauvelt, appellant.

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the District Court for Adams County: Stephen R. Illingworth, Judge.

Arthur C. Toogood, Adams County Public Defender, for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and George R. Love for appellee.

Inbody, Chief Judge, and Irwin and Moore, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Moore, Judge.

Preston M. Blauvelt appeals his convictions on two counts of burglary after a bench trial in the Adams County District Court. The district court sentenced Blauvelt to consecutive terms of 2 to 4 years' imprisonment on the first count and of 1 to 2 years' imprisonment on the second count. Finding that Blauvelt's convictions were supported by sufficient evidence and that the imposed sentences were not excessive, we affirm the district court's order.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On the morning of April 11, 2011, an employee at the Adams County fairgrounds reported a burglary at the fairgrounds. The subsequent police investigation revealed that three different areas in the fairgrounds sustained damage during the burglary. In the Activities Center Building, two soda vending machines were damaged and a beverage cooler behind the bar was broken into. Several cases of beer were later reported missing from the fairgrounds' supply that was stored in that building. In the Community Service Building, paint was thrown on the wooden floor and a window screen destroyed. Sometime later, fairgrounds employees discovered that a sound amplifier had been stolen. The police also discovered that a door leading to the fairgrounds' grandstands had been damaged.

In the early morning hours on April 21, 2011, the Hastings City Auditorium also reported a burglary. During this burglary, various electronics were stolen from an upstairs office, including a laptop, a computer monitor, a police scanner, a wireless router, and microphones. The police also found numerous shattered light bulbs on the stage floor and a damaged security camera. During the investigation into this burglary, the police discovered that a door to the auditorium had been damaged when it was pried open. The police concluded that the culprits had accessed the auditorium through this door.

During the investigations into these two burglaries, the Hastings Police Department collected a number of fingerprints and sent them to the Nebraska State Patrol crime laboratory for analysis. A latent fingerprint examiner with the crime laboratory examined these fingerprints and was able to analyze only one latent fingerprint from those submitted. This print was left on a paint can that had been recovered from the Community Service Building on the fairgrounds. After comparing this fingerprint to those in the Nebraska State Patrol records, the latent fingerprint examiner concluded that it was left by Michael Sorgen.

Sorgen was interviewed at the Clay County Sheriff's Department about his involvement in these burglaries. Following this interview, officers entered Sorgen's mother's home in Fairfield, Nebraska, and recovered the computer monitor that had been stolen from the auditorium.

Sorgen was charged with burglarizing the Hastings City Auditorium and the Adams County fairgrounds. According to his testimony, Sorgen reached a plea agreement with the State under which he pled no contest to the fairgrounds burglary and the auditorium burglary charges were dropped. The agreement also required Sorgen to speak to law enforcement about his knowledge of the two burglaries. Following his plea, Sorgen received a sentence of probation.

The Hastings Police Department learned of Blauvelt's possible involvement in these burglaries from the Clay County Sheriff's Department. The police obtained and served a search warrant on the home in which Blauvelt lived with his mother in Hastings, Nebraska. While executing the search warrant, officers found and collected the electronics that had been stolen from the Hastings City Auditorium. ...


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