Man gets 4 years for selling rental tools at flea market

Man gets 4 years for selling rental tools at flea market

URBANA — A former Fisher man who admitted he rented tools from area businesses and then sold them at a flea market in northern Illinois has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Carlos M. Johnson, 32, pleaded guilty Friday before Champaign County Judge Harry Clem to a single count of burglary but was ordered to make restitution of about $13,000 for tools he stole from four area businesses.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said Johnson admitted that on Sept. 17, 2013, he went to Rental City, 2508 N. Mattis Ave., C, and entered with the intent to steal.

Clark said that at Rental City, Johnson rented a power snake, a gas saw, and a diamond asphalt-concrete saw blade, worth a total of about $2,150, and never returned any of the items.

In exchange for his plea to that charge, Clark dismissed three other burglary counts alleging that on Nov. 11, 12 and 17, Johnson went in Sunbelt Rentals, 1401 N. Mattis Ave., C; Menards, 620 Town Center Blvd., C; and McCabe Brothers Tool Rental, 411 N. Wright St., C, intending to steal.

He rented tools including a jack hammer, concrete saw, floor polisher and floor sander, with a total value of almost $12,000. Those items were never returned, either, the prosecutor said.

Clark said Champaign police Detective Pat Kelly learned Johnson and his wife were apparently having financial problems so Johnson went to several tool rental locations, rented thousands of dollars worth of tools and then sold them at Swap-O-Rama in Alsip.

Johnson will serve the sentence at the same time as a four-year prison sentence he received in July in Douglas County for a similar crime.

Douglas County State's Attorney Kevin Nolan said Johnson pleaded guilty to burglary for going in the Do-It-Best hardware store on U.S. 36 in Tuscola on Nov. 19. At the Awesome Machines business inside the Do-It-Best, he rented saw blades, sanders and a mounting kit, worth a total of about $6,000, and never returned the items. Nolan said Johnson was ordered to pay $6,065 in restitution to the owner of that business as well.

Clark said Johnson was arrested at the Awesome Machines, 109 S. Dunlap Ave., Savoy, on Nov. 19, because employees of the Tuscola store alerted employees in Savoy that he might be coming.

Clark said Johnson had prior convictions for unlawful delivery of cannabis and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, which made him ineligible for probation in the burglary cases.

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