URBANA — A Mansfield man has been charged with multiple counts of burglary for allegedly prying open coin boxes on appliances in campus area apartments and stealing quarters.
George Wisehart, 36, was arraigned Thursday on seven counts of burglary to buildings in Champaign.
"He used to work for two property rental companies, JSM and University Group," said Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler. "He admitted entering buildings in the campus area belonging to the companies on 10 to 12 occasions in the last couple of months and prying open the washers and dryers in the laundry rooms and taking quarters."
Ziegler filed charges against Wisehart alleging burglaries on Oct. 18 at University Group buildings at 207 E. John St., 211 E. John St., and 106 E. Daniel St.; burglaries Dec. 2 at University Group buildings at 207 E. John St., 211 E. John St., and 104 E. Armory; and one burglary Dec. 7 at a JSM property at 307 E. Armory.
Ziegler said in the last break-in, a tenant came in the laundry room and saw a man, later identified through a photo lineup as Wisehart, prying on a machine. He apparently told that person that he worked for the property owner and had forgotten his key. Ziegler said Wisehart had previously been identified as a suspect by an employee at one of the other buildings who saw him in a laundry room and then saw him leave hurriedly.
Ziegler said he didn't have a total loss estimate but said the companies reported that 14 coin collectors, worth $1,000 each, were either lost or damaged.
The case was investigated by Detective Dale Rawdin of the Champaign Police Department, Ziegler said. The police report indicated that Wisehart was using the money to buy drugs, Ziegler said.
If convicted, he faces penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.
Wisehart was told to be back in court Feb. 4.