EAU CLAIRE — An Eau Claire man will spend three years on probation for stealing dozens of tools and equipment from construction trailers in Eau Claire County in 2016 and 2017.
Russell K. Hershman, 33, 6136 Aspen Ridge Drive, pleaded guilty Friday in Eau Claire County Court to two felony counts of burglary.
Judge Jon Theisen ordered Hershman to pay $11,803 in restitution at a rate of at least $250 per month. Hershman cannot drink alcohol, enter taverns or have contact with C&M Home Builders or Hulback Construction. Theisen also ordered Hershman to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and any other recommended programming or treatment.
According to the criminal complaint:
The Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office received numerous reports of burglarized construction trailers owned by C&M Home Builders from November 2016 to June 2017.
Among the items taken from the trailers included construction equipment, nailers, power tools, chain saws, leaf blowers and weed whips. The burglaries were reported at construction sites in the towns of Brunswick and Washington, and in the city of Eau Claire.
A detective noticed in July 2017 a man was selling construction equipment on Facebook Marketplace. The detective checked the man’s pawning history and discovered he had been pawning numerous construction tools since December 2016.
Authorities executed a search warrant at the man’s town of Brunswick residence in July 2017 and seized 130 stolen power tools. The man denied stealing any of the items and said he got them through bartering. Authorities searched the man’s cellphone and found numerous text messages between the man and Hershman related to the burglary investigations.
Hershman’s mother called authorities July 14, 2017, to see if they were investigating burglaries that Hershman may have been involved in. The woman said there were two chain saws in her garage. She didn’t know who they belonged to or where they came from. The woman said she didn’t want any stolen property at her residence.
Authorities searched the woman’s Eau Claire garage and basement and found 51 power tools. Most were hidden inside boxes or covered by blankets.
At the time of the burglaries, Hershman was free on a signature bond for several pending criminal cases in Eau Claire County. Conditions of the bond included committing no new crimes.