Paxton man pleads guilty to stealing silver from former employer

Paxton man pleads guilty to stealing silver from former employer

URBANA — A former employee of a fuse manufacturing company has been sentenced to second-chance probation and ordered to make tens of thousands of dollars in restitution for stealing scrap silver from the company.

Dustin Kurtz, 37, of Paxton pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge Tom Difanis to theft over $10,000, admitting that between July 2014 and March of this year, he stole scrap silver from Littelfuse Inc., sold it to a recycler and pocketed some $27,000.

Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Clifton said the company, which manufactures products for circuit protection, is located in the University of Illinois Research Park at 2110 S. Oak St., C.

UI Police investigated the theft after company officials became suspicious that silver byproducts were being diverted from the company’s recycling stream, Clifton said.

Clifton said police and company officials learned that Kurtz was mailing the silver to a recycler in New Jersey, which was cutting him checks for it. Kurtz collected more than $27,000 from the recycler, Clifton said.

However, Kurtz was ordered to make restitution Tuesday to the company in the amount of $37,430.07, representing the actual value of the scrap silver plus the shipping fees Littelfuse incurred in sending the silver to New Jersey.

He was also ordered to pay fines, fees and costs of about $2,300.

Kurtz was sentenced to two years of second-chance probation, meaning that if he successfully completes all the terms of his probation, the case will be dismissed and he will not have a record of the Class 2 felony conviction.

Clifton told Difanis that Kurtz had no prior convictions.

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