Man sentenced to probation, $19,000 in restitution

Man sentenced to probation, $19,000 in restitution

URBANA — An Urbana man who admitted stealing thousands of dollars worth of radio-controlled merchandise from his former employer was sentenced Friday to two years of probation.

Champaign County Judge Heidi Ladd cautioned Brian Wells not to miss payments on the $19,404 in restitution he was ordered to make as part of his plea agreement.

Wells, 22, whose last known address was in the 900 block of East Pennsylvania Avenue, admitted that between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1, while working at HotSlots, 1809 S. Philo Road, Urbana, he shipped dozens of slot cars to customers representing the merchandise as his own, then pocketing the money.

Assistant State's Attorney Matt Banach said in mid-October, company officials presented Urbana police with videotape that showed Wells was not following the proper protocol when packaging orders, including not having someone check his work.

When police went to talk to him at his home, he admitted that he was boxing and shipping merchandise that did not belong to him, at company expense, and keeping the money.

Banach said Wells also admitted he had been doing the same thing at Hobbico in Champaign, where he worked last summer. Hobbico is a distributor of radio-controlled cars, boats, airplanes and helicopters as well as other general hobby products.

Urbana police Lt. Bryant Seraphin said none of the stolen merchandise was recovered.

In return for Wells' plea, Banach agreed to dismiss the second theft case alleging Wells stole from Hobbico but included it in the restitution order.

Wells was ordered to repay HotSlots $17,644 and Hobbico $1,760.

Ladd told Wells that if he was having trouble making the restitution, he needed to alert his probation officer so that his probation could be extended.

Banach said Wells had no prior convictions.

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