Lake Mills Weapons Burglar, Heroin Addict Given Two Years in Prison
Ryan Whisner, Special to Lake Mills Leader hngnews.com | Posted on Jun 15, 2016
by Matt Gardner
A 32-year-old former Madison man who admits to having a heroin and gambling problem was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison for stealing more than 20 firearms from a Lake Mills home this past winter.
Through a plea agreement with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Matthew S. Riedel pleaded no contest to two counts of burglary-arming oneself with dangerous weapons.
Riedel, who currently lists a town of Koshkonong home address, originally was charged with one count of burglary and two counts of burglary-arming oneself with dangerous weapons.
He pleaded no contest to the two counts of burglary-arming oneself and the remaining count of burglary was read into the record and dismissed.
Based on the severity of the crime and Riedel’s lack of prior convictions, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick Tuesday concurred with the joint recommendation from Assistant District Attorney Monica Hall and Riedel’s attorney, Elizabeth Svehlek of the State Public Defender’s Office, and ordered a sentence of seven years, including two years in prison and five years on extended supervision.
As conditions of extended supervision, Riedel is to undergo alcohol and other drug abuse assessment and treatment; have no possession of alcohol, illegal drugs, controlled substances or dangerous weapons; be subject to testing for illegal drugs through random urinalyses; maintain employment or be enrolled in some type of education program, and have no contact with any known drug offender except for treatment purposes.
Lastly, he is to pay the victim restitution in the amount of $2,997.
The charges relate to Riedel having burglarized a Lake Mills home on three occasions between Dec. 1, 2015, and Jan. 29, 2016, taking various items, including more than 20 firearms and other weapons.
From Dec. 14, 2015, to Jan. 29, 2016, Riedel reportedly pawned at a Madison shop approximately 18 items, four of which matched serial numbers provided by the owner and 14 of which matched descriptions.
In addition, numerous stolen firearms, ammunition and knives were recovered from inside Riedel’s apartment at the time of his arrest in Madison.
At the time of his arrest, Riedel reportedly acknowledged going into his former co-worker’s home on three separate occasions.
He also told investigators he used some of the money for drugs, some for gambling and some for food. He said he “ate like a king.”
Presenting her argument for the jointly recommended sentence, Hall cited the victim’s statements as a good place to start.
“The reason why it is an increased penalty for arming oneself during a burglary is partially because it is more dangerous for everyone involved,” she said. “Also because of the fears this victim actually has, which is that his legally owned and possessed weapons are now out on the street, which adds to the violence of our society in general.”
Continuing, the assistant district attorney noted that it was disappointing to note that Riedel went into the victim’s home multiple times.
“I have no doubt the weapons were stolen, in part, because of their value and their ability to be sold at decent prices at a pawn shop,” Hall said.
In addition, she pointed some focus on Riedel’s apparent heroin addiction.
Careful to not use the addiction as an excuse, Hall said that Riedel is to blame for the situation. However, she said his addiction is a scary one that brought him to commit these crimes.
“He hopefully will have the opportunity to get treatment while in custody,” she said. “I think the recommendation here for prison is that he face the seriousness of these events, but also give the defendant an opportunity to treat his addiction that led to these crimes being committed.”
Meanwhile, Svehlek said that every time she saw Riedel, she encouraged him to get an assessment and treatment.
“This was a serious addiction he had at the time of these offenses and that he is still struggling with,” she said.
Continuing, Svehlek said Riedel has been cooperative with her and the court, and entered a plea to the charges prior to trial.
She noted that she had spoken to him about the danger of his conduct in entering a home where weapons were present during daylight hours and he admitted such danger can be borne out of addiction.
Prior to sentencing, Riedel himself offered no statement to the court.
Setting the sentence, the judge cited Riedel’s lack of a criminal record, while recognizing that he did enter pleas on two serious felony charges.
“Stealing firearms is always risky business; you might alarm an armed firearm owner, which obviously could have disastrous results for the burglar and others,” the judge said.
He pointed out that the crime has had a significant impact on the victim.
“He is understandably frustrated because he worked hard to earn the money to buy the items that you stole from him,” Koschnick said.
Specifically, he said the victim was further aggravated about the fact that Riedel lied about stealing seven handguns and he is concerned that those now are in the black market and could be used to commit crimes or kill innocent people.
“Residential burglaries are generally more serious than a non-residential burglary,” the judge said.
“You are violating somebody’s home. The home is typically a place where people feel sanctuary and safety. When you enter someone’s home, you violate their sense of privacy and security.”
The judge pointed out that such a violation can have a long-lasting impact on the victims. He cited past instances in which such victims have told him that the lessened sense of security never really goes away.
Unrelated to the burglary charges, Riedel also appeared Tuesday in custody on charges of criminal damage to property and possession of drug paraphernalia in Dane County.