LELAND — A Leland man accused of stealing mail from rural Hancock County residents has been given a suspended prison sentence as part of a plea deal.
36-year-old Carl Werstein was charged with one count of ongoing criminal conduct and 12 counts of theft after being arrested late in April of last year. In a criminal complaint, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department says they received complaints about items being stolen from mailboxes during the month of January.
In March, law enforcement and the US Postal Service placed what they called “trap mail” with two documented items into a monitored mailbox. A deputy stated he saw Werstein drive up to the mailbox and take the mail at around 4:00 AM. Authorities believed Werstein between December 2017 and March 2018 allegedly made thefts from 12 different mailboxes, with multiple thefts at times from some of the boxes.
District Judge Gregg Rosenbladt on Tuesday sentenced Werstein on the ongoing criminal conduct charge to 25 years in prison, with the prison sentence suspended, along with a five-year term of probation. All the other counts were dismissed as part of the plea agreement with prosecutors.
Werstein’s suspended sentence is to be served consecutively with a five-year suspended sentence and five years probation that Rosenbladt handed down as well on Tuesday for a controlled substance violation charge out of Winnebago County.