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Published August 30 2012

Clay prosecutor faults state law for limiting serial burglar to jail time served

MOORHEAD – A Clay County prosecutor said it’s “disappointing” that a Moorhead man convicted in a burglary spree walked free Thursday because Minnesota law doesn’t allow for consecutive jail sentences in property crime cases.

Juan Quevedo, 28, remains a suspect in four to six additional burglary cases, Assistant County Attorney Jenny Samarzja said, adding that prosecutors are waiting on forensic analysis of fingerprint and DNA evidence.

Quevedo was caught trying to break into the Strand & Marcy Insurance Agency on March 28 while being tailed by a Moorhead police detective. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday to time served in jail for the attempted burglary and the completed burglaries of Moorhead Insurance, 2310 4th Ave. N., and American Family Insurance, 419 8th St. S.

“It’s truly a spree,” Samarzja said.

As recommended by the state, Quevedo was sentenced to 216 days in the Clay County Jail, with credit for 144 days served since his arrest. Because state law requires inmates to serve two-thirds of their sentences behind bars, Quevedo will be released today, Samarzja said.

Under the sentences handed down by Judge Steven Cahill, Quevedo will be on supervised probation for five years. He also must pay $1,633 in restitution to Christine Rasmussen Harvey, owner of the American Family agency that was burglarized. Restitution was left open for future claims by Moorhead Insurance.

Quevedo was already a suspect in multiple Moorhead burglaries when Detective Ryan Nelson collared him trying to break into Strand & Marcy. Quevedo had just been released by Fargo police, who were questioning him about vehicle tampering, and Nelson had followed him into Moorhead.

“He continued to really act on crimes of opportunity,” Samarzja said, adding that Quevedo entered businesses through open windows.

Samarzja lamented the fact that state law allows for consecutive sentences in violent crimes but not property crimes.

“We would have appreciated that ability,” she said.

If Quevedo were to be charged and convicted in additional burglaries, he could amass enough criminal history points to warrant a prison sentence, Samarzja said.

Quevedo declined to speak in court when given the opportunity.

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