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Men jailed for tearing down barn, selling scrap metal
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Two men who tore down a barn that did not belong to them and then sold the metal for profit have been given five months in jail.
The defendants, Murray Augusto Heraud and Michael A. Morales, entered guilty pleas before Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to charges of attempted theft of property over $1,000. They were both ordered to serve 150 days of two-year sentences and pay $75 plus costs.
Their sentences come after scrap metal was taken from an old packing barn. The thefts including metal and even metal beams.
The suspects were taken into custody on suspicion of theft after lawmen received information they had been involved in removing the items. During questioning, Heraud maintained the incidents were all a misunderstanding, saying he was working salvage on the building which he believed no one wanted.
“He (Heraud) said he asked a lady at the Moose Lodge about the building and she said it wasn’t theirs so he decided he would take the building down,” prosecutors said of Heraud’s statement to officers. “He says he’s been to the location approximately six times to remove metal.”
While Heraud maintained the incident was a misunderstanding, lawmen doubted his claim pointing to 29 prior charges against him dating back to 1997 involving numerous counties across the Midstate. Many of those arrests involved theft and burglary.
Morales has four prior arrests.