BARRON COUNTY -- A man convicted of committing arson of a Cumberland, WI business in December 2019 has been ordered to serve time in prison.
DrydenWire.com reported in December 2019, that Hienok Demessie was facing felony charges following an investigation into a burglary at the Don Johnson Collision Center in Cumberland, WI and arson committed at the adjacent laundromat, owned by Ignition Enterprises.
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Cash and keys were taken from the collision center, coins were taken from the laundromat, and the heat from the fire destroyed the ceiling of the laundromat and melted plastic parts on most of the commercial washers and dryers. The office containing the laundromat’s security system also sustained serious damage. The hard drive that stored recorded video from the security system was completely burned up and melted. In total, the fire caused damages estimated to be in excess of $600,000.
Demessie was located in a stolen vehicle a few hours later after law enforcement received reports of an erratic driver. Inside the vehicle, authorities located multiple single-use packets of laundry supplies, a mini pry bar, a pair of black gloves, a pair of white gloves, a long-sleeved black shirt, a network security camera in its box, a toll of black lawn and trash bags, two crescent wrenches, a lighter, a pair of blue colored Dickies Pants. Also found was a bag with 2 receipts from Walmart dated December 17, 2019, shortly after 4:30a; one of the receipts being a coin voucher for nearly $400.
Charges of Class C Felony Arson of Building, 2 counts of Class F Felony Burglary of Building or Dwelling, Class G Felony Theft - Movable Property (>$10,000 - $100,000), Class I Felony Possession of Burglarious Tools, Class I Felony Criminal Damage to Property, and Class H Felony Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent were filed against Demessie.
At a hearing in April 2020 Demessie entered a plea of guilty to one charge of Class F Felony Burglary of Building or Dwelling, Class I Felony Criminal Damage to Property (amended with an enhancer for Party to a Crime included), and Class H Felony Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent. The remaining charges filed against Demessie were dismissed and/or read-in.
At a sentencing hearing on June 24, 2020 the Court found Demessie to be responsible for over $850,000 in restitution according to online circuit court records.
The Court ordered a 10 year sentence for Demessie on his conviction of Class F Felony Burglary of Building or Dwelling. He is to serve 5 years of initial confinement followed by 5 years of extended supervision.
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On his conviction for Class I Felony Criminal Damage to Property (amended with an enhancer for Party to a Crime included) Demessie received a sentence of 3 ½ years. The Court ordered Demessie to serve 1 year and 6 months of initial confinement on that conviction, followed by 2 years of extended supervision.
For the conviction of Class H Felony Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent the Court ordered a 4 year sentence for Demessie; 2 years of initial confinement followed by 2 years of extended supervision.
Demessie will serve his sentences concurrently and was given credit for 191 days already served.
Conditions of Demessie’s extended supervision prohibit him from possessing or consuming any alcohol, controlled substances, or drug paraphernalia, and he is to complete any and all evaluations, counseling, treatment and follow-up recommended by his Probation and Parole Agent.