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Forum News Service, Published November 19 2013

Willmar flag burner gets jail, probation

WILLMAR, Minn. - A Willmar man was sentenced Tuesday to 90 days in jail, $2,000 in fines and a year of probation for burning two U.S. flags belonging to downtown Willmar businesses.

Jeffrey James Ackerman, 40, was sentenced on two counts of fifth-degree arson by District Judge Michael J. Thompson in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Ackerman was also ordered to pay $60 in restitution, write letters of apology, complete a mental health evaluation and be evaluated for a cognitive skills program.

Ackerman was given credit for 29 days already served in jail, and the remaining 61 days were stayed for one year. In addition, $1,000 of the fines was also stayed for a year.

On June 1, owners and managers of the Kitchen Fair and Midas Auto found the damaged flags when they arrived to open for business.

Surveillance video footage recorded just after 1 a.m. that day was used to connect Ackerman to the crimes. A cigarette lighter was used to start the fires, according to Police Chief David Wyffels.