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Poplar man gets probation for rural burglaries

A Poplar man will spend a year on probation for breaking into a rural Douglas County home, but could escape a felony conviction for burglary.

Austin James Clement, 19, pleaded guilty in Douglas County Circuit Court on Oct. 4 to burglary and an amended charge of criminal trespass to dwelling stemming from two burglaries in Douglas County this spring, including one at a home where two teens were babysitting.

He will serve 45 days in jail with Huber work release granted on the trespass charge. He was ordered to pay $330 restitution, undergo a chemical dependency evaluation, have no contact with the victim and pay court costs.

A deferred judgment of conviction agreement was entered for the burglary charge. If Clement abides by the terms of his probation, stays out of trouble with the law and pays an additional $1,464 restitution by Oct. 4, 2015, the charge would be amended to misdemeanor theft with no additional penalty.

Charges of retail theft, possession of marijuana and two counts of bail jumping were dismissed. An additional charge of theft was dismissed but read in for sentencing.

According to the criminal complaint:

Clement and Alexander Morningstar Rohling, 21, broke into a home on County Highway P where two teens were babysitting an infant on March 23. Clement and Rohling were seeking prescription drugs.

The teens heard someone kick in an upstairs door, grabbed a phone and locked themselves in a downstairs bathroom to call 911. One suspect was taken into custody as he left the woods near the home, the other was arrested at a nearby residence.

Last month in Douglas County Circuit Court, Rohling pleaded no contest to charges of burglary and criminal trespass to dwelling stemming from the same incident. His sentence was the same as Clement's except he was ordered to serve 75 days in jail.