WASHBURN COUNTY -- (DrydenWire.com) -- The Court has sentenced one of five people that were charged regarding a series of storage unit burglaries throughout Washburn County.

In April 2021, DrydenWire reported that charges were filed in Washburn County Circuit Court against 5 people following a lengthy investigation by law enforcement into a series of reported burglaries that occurred early in 2020.

At least 7 storage unit facilities were burglarized in Washburn County with multiple units sustaining losses at each facility. The padlocks on the burglarized units had been cut and sometimes replaced, and at some of the storage units, the door handles had been cut to allow the padlocks to be taken off without unlocking or cutting them.

Items reported stolen from the units included firearms, fishing equipment and supplies, hunting equipment and supplies, power tools, propane tanks, chainsaw, welders, generators, golf clubs, ice shack, ice auger, ladders, vehicle titles, birth certificates, photo albums, china, jewelry, and other collectibles.

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The information gained during the investigation led investigators to identify the burglary suspects as Shaun Johnson, Sarah Kowarsch, Keith Velasco, Delayna York, and Samantha Okonek.

Keith Velasco was charged with 9 counts of Class F Felony Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of Building-Dwelling filed against him in 9 different criminal complaints in Washburn County Circuit Court.

Online circuit court records show that at a plea hearing in November 2021, the Court accepted Velasco’s plea of No Contest to two counts of Class F Felony Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of Building-Dwelling. The remaining charges filed against him were dismissed but read-in.

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Velasco appeared most recently for a sentencing hearing on January 10, 2022, for a sentencing hearing on his convictions. The Court ordered a 6-year imposed and stayed prison sentence for Velasco on each of his two convictions with 5 years of probation to be served concurrently. If Velasco’s probation should be revoked, he will face 3 years of initial confinement followed by 3 years of extended supervision. Velasco also received credit for 172 days confinement in county jail. Conditions of probation will require Velasco to maintain absolute sobriety.

Shaun Johnson is charged in Washburn County Circuit Court with 9 counts of Class F Felony Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of Building-Dwelling; Class I Felony Possession of Methamphetamine; Misdemeanor Possession of THC; and 5 counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia filed against him in 10 criminal complaints.  An additional case was filed against Johnson in August 2021 charging him with Class C Felony Possess with Intent Amphetamine (>50g), and Class H Felony Bail Jumping. Johnson is scheduled to appear again in February 2022 regarding those charges.

A separate case filed in Burnett County Circuit Court charges Johnson with 3 counts of Class F Felony Burglary Building-Dwelling (Party to a Crime); Class I Felony Possession of Methamphetamine (Party to a Crime); and Class I Felony Possession of Burglarious Tools (Party to a Crime). He is scheduled to be sentenced on those charges on January 31, 2022.

Sarah Kowarsch is charged in Washburn County Circuit Court with 9 counts of Class F Felony Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of Building-Dwelling; and 1 count of Class F Felony Burglary of Building-Dwelling filed against her in 10 different criminal complaints. She is scheduled to appear again in February 2022.

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In two separate cases filed against Kowarsch in Burnett County Circuit Court she is charged with 7 counts of Class F Felony Burglary Building-Dwelling (Party to a Crime); Class I Felony Possession of Methamphetamine (Party to a Crime); and Class I Felony Possession of Burglarious Tools (Party to a Crime); 6 counts of Class H Felony Bail Jumping; Misdemeanor Receiving or Concealing Stolen Property; and Misdemeanor Possess Drug Paraphernalia. She is scheduled to be sentenced on those charges on January 31, 2022.

Kowarsch is also charged in Barron County Circuit Court with 3 counts of Class F Felony Burglary Building-Dwelling (Party to a Crime) and she is scheduled to appear in February 2022 on those charges.

Samantha Okonek is charged In Washburn County Circuit Court with 9 counts of Class F Felony Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of Building-Dwelling; Class I Felony Possession of Methamphetamine; Misdemeanor Possession of THC; and 5 counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia filed against her in 10 different criminal complaints. She is scheduled to appear again in February 2022.

Delayna York is charged in Washburn County Circuit Court with 9 counts of Class F Felony Conspiracy to Commit Burglary of Building-Dwelling; and Misdemeanor Resisting or Obstructing an Officer filed against her in 10 different complaints. She is scheduled to appear again in March 2022.

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Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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