YORK – A Waco man will serve nearly four years in prison for stealing batteries, causing property damage to local farmers and pointing a handgun at Seward County farmer. Charles ‘Chuck’ Lewis, 56, was sentenced Oct. 31 in York County District Court to a year in jail and ordered to served post release supervision for 24 months. He was then sentenced to serve 73 months in prison at a Nov. 2 sentencing in Seward County in a separate case. Both of those sentences will serve concurrently.
According to court records, Lewis stole several batteries, copper wire from farms and caused significant pivot damage in York County. On June 25, it was discovered that a second battery was stolen from an electric fence and two days later a battery was taken from a pivot site from the same property. Trail cameras were set up on the property after the first battery was stolen and photos from the owner captured Lewis stealing the battery from the pivot site. Later that same day on a separate property within a few miles over a $1,000 of damage was done to a pivot where wire was stolen. The sheriff’s department also received numerous complaints within 10 days involving eight thefts that had occurred in York County. In those thefts there were irrigation batteries, sections of copper wire and extension cords taken. On June 28, authorities made contact with a salvage yard in Utica. The owner advised that two separate transactions with Lewis occurred where he sold them batteries and copper wire. During the transaction, Lewis provided his drivers license and authorities confirmed the sold goods were the stolen property. Lewis was later arrested and charged with two counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking Less than $500 a Class IV Felony and Criminal Mischief $500-$1,500, a misdemeanor. Lewis was convicted of similar charges in 2014.
After pleading guilty to the first count of Theft by Unlawful Taking, the second charge was dropped. The Honorable James C. Stecker noted his past charges in 2014 during his sentencing and said Lewis was not fit for probation as it would depreciate the seriousness of the crime.
In a separate case in Seward County, a farmer reported that on Aug. 1, Lewis drove onto private property northeast of Utica and deliberately cut copper wiring from a grain bin dryer using a pair of wire cutter type tools. As Lewis was attempting to leave the property with the stolen copper wire, he was stopped by the owner. The owner stated Lewis pointed a handgun at him and fearing for his life, the owner allowed Lewis to flee the property. After the owner contacted authorities and similar information was passed along by the York County Sheriff’s Office, an arrest warrant was issued. Lewis was then arrested on Aug. 2 at his residence in Waco. He was charged with: Terroristic Threats, a Class 3A felony; Possession of Burglary Tools, a Class 4 felony; Use of a Deadly Weapon to Commit a Felony, a Class 2 Felony; Criminal Mischief, a misdemeanor; Trespassing Second Degree, a misdemeanor and Theft a misdemeanor.
On Nov. 2 in Seward County District Court, Lewis plead guilty to Terroristic Threats and sentenced to served 15 months in jail with credit for 71 days already served, plead guilty to Possession of Burglary Tools and sentenced to a year behind bars, plead guilty to Theft Unlawful Taking and sentenced to four months in jail and plead guilty Criminal Mischief and sentenced to serve two months behind bars. Lewis was also ordered to serve 36 months of Post Release Supervision.