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Princeton woman sentenced in Redwood County Court for receiving stolen catalytic converters

A Princeton woman was sentenced in Redwood County Court last week for receiving stolen property from catalytic converter thefts.

On July 22 of last year, the Redwood Falls Police Department was informed of suspicious activity going on at 33965 Laser Avenue. The person making the report stated he could hear the sound of a saw coming from the Redwood Gospel Hall, Inc., church parking lot.

When officers arrived at the scene, they observed another vehicle next to the church van, with a man underneath the church van. As officers approached the man, identified as Shawn David Niebolte, age 40, he shifted to underneath his own vehicle. A passenger, identified as Francesca Ann Vance, age 33, of Princeton, was in the second vehicle.

Police noted the two church vans had both had their catalytic converters removed, that there were metal shavings on Niebolte’s shirt and under the church vans, and on gloves on the other vehicle’s front seat. Three of the converters were in the passenger seat behind Vance, while the fourth had been tossed in a nearby cornfield along with a reciprocating saw.

Niebolte stated he had been repairing the sway bar on his vehicle, but no shavings were found underneath his car.

Vance was transported to the Redwood County jail, where she stated the converters were in Niebolte’s vehicle because he buys them, and goes around to “help out others”. She denied any knowledge he had taken them from the church vans.

The value of the parts stolen from the church van, and other damages, was $5,021.

On Thursday, July 22, Vance was convicted of Receiving Stolen Property. Various charges of aiding and abetting criminal damage, and aiding and abetting theft, tampering with a motor vehicle, and possessing burglary tools were dismissed.

Vance was sentenced to 213 days in the Redwood County jail, with credit for 142 days served, supervised probation for two years, and $4,224 restitution.

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