Would-be beer thieves at Garth Brooks concert hit with $2,476 tab

Would-be beer thieves at Garth Brooks concert hit with $2,476 tab

URBANA — Two McLean County men who were trying to take a lot of free beer to go after last spring's Garth Brooks concert in Champaign probably would have had a lower tab if they'd gone to a bar.

Daniel A. Witte and Jason Kieser, both 28 and from rural Shirley, southwest of Bloomington, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Champaign County Circuit Court to misdemeanor theft for stealing a cooler belonging to a vendor at State Farm Center on April 30.

The men entered their pleas before Judge Tom Difanis.

Each was sentenced to 18 months of conditional discharge, a form of probation without having to report to an officer, but they were also ordered to make total restitution of $2,476 to cover the medical expenses of a University of Illinois police officer who sustained a hamstring injury as he chased them.

Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar said around 11 p.m., police spotted the pair pushing a large cooler with about 150 bottles of beer toward a door. An officer who chased them tripped and fell as he ran after them, getting hurt in the process. Lozar said the would-be beer thieves did not directly cause the officer's injury.

Lozar said the cost of the beer and cooler was estimated at $1,000, although the beer retailed for $8 a bottle.

The pair had initially been charged with resisting a peace officer and two counts of felony theft, but those charges were dismissed in return for their guilty pleas and promise to make restitution.

Witte was represented by Urbana attorney Steve Beckett and Kieser by Urbana attorney Evan Bruno.

Lozar said neither man had any prior convictions.

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GLG wrote on January 16, 2018 at 7:01 pm

"Witte was represented by Urbana attorney Steve Beckett and Kieser by Urbana attorney Evan Bruno." The new "Justice Brothers" Time for Difanis to get the rubber gavel and go to the home!! He used to be tough on crime now he just needs to retire!

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