Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Archbishop's burglar may owe up to $27,000 in restitution

Kelvin Smalls owes the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis anywhere between $1,000 and $27,000 after he was sentenced Tuesday for burglarizing the private home of Archbishop John Nienstedt.

Ramsey County District Judge John Van de North said he'll rule on the exact amount of restitution in a few days. He handed Small a 28-month sentence, which he stayed for 10 years. The judge gave Smalls credit for the 74 days he has spent in custody.

Van de North commented on a letter he received from the archdiocese that said the archbishop forgives Smalls.

"That's something you should take to heart, Mr. Smalls," the judge said.

The letter also said that a lot of the items stolen, such as rings and crosses, had religious significance far beyond their monetary value and the archdiocese would very much like to have them returned.

The stolen items are worth more than $27,000. All but $1,000 of that amount was reimbursed by insurance, but the archdiocese is self-insured, so the money is coming out of the church's pocket, prosecutor Dan Vlieger said in court.

Smalls pleaded guilty in April. In the pre-sentence investigation report, Smalls said he was on "an adventure" when he stumbled upon the archbishop's residence, and he decided to burglarize it "on a whim." The report also said that Smalls said he threw away most of the stolen items. Star Tribune

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