Pawn shop owner gets jail
The former owner of River Falls Pawn and Jewelry on Main Street was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years on probation for receiving stolen property.
Peter K. McCarty, 55, pled guilty Monday in Pierce County Court to one felony count and three misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property. As part of his probation, McCarty must pay court costs and restitution, at an amount to be determined, within a year.
"I apologize for what I've done," McCarty said. "And I apologize to the city of River Falls for any embarrassment I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions."
McCarty was originally charged with four felonies -- one of receiving stolen property valued between $5,000 and $10,000 and three of receiving stolen property valued from $2,500 to $5,000. The felony counts for the smaller amounts were dismissed. The three misdemeanors were for property valued less than $2,500.
According to the criminal complaint, the offenses took place last October. The case started when Red Wing, Minn., police investigated suspicious charges on a credit card held by Chandler Roofing.
Chandler managers said they didn't authorize charges that totaled about $22,387.
Security video allegedly showed one of the company's former employees, Robert Hoyer, buying merchandise. Hoyer had the credit card when he held a foreman position.
He told police he kept the credit number after leaving the job, but still signed the boss' name while representing himself as a foreman. Hoyer bought power tools then sold them to pawn shops.
Hoyer told police none of the items he brought to River Falls Pawn and Jewelry were logged into the Automated Pawn System, the program used to intercept stolen merchandise. Such documentation is required by law.
He added he brought some items around to the back door of the pawn shop and said on two occasions he met a store employee outside of River Falls to make transactions. He said when one pawn shop employee asked him where the merchandise was coming from, he replied, "None of your business."
McCarty was charged with seven counts in December. The Pawn and Jewelry business, located at 117 S. Main, closed in March.
That month he told a Journal reporter that he was "most definitely getting out of retail and certainly won't open another pawn shop."
The main issue during the plea hearing was whether or not McCarty would serve time in jail.
Pierce County Assistant District Attorney Bill Thorie argued that jail was appropriate due to the offense. McCarty's attorney James Robert Johnson countered, highlighting McCarty's lack of criminal record (This was his first offense.) and his overall life prior to these incidents.
"This wasn't done by someone who has a criminal background," Johnson said. "He's done fairly well in his life."
Johnson said that while hoping jail wouldn't be a condition, McCarty "understands he needs to be punished."
Judge Robert Wing decided jail time was warranted because of the seriousness of the crimes.