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Two Pirate defendants
receive probation time

Four others will be back in court in July


by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Two of the six Pilfered Pirate defendants know their fate. Four others asked for a continuance at a court appearance Tuesday morning, and will be back in Platte County Circuit Court on July 9.

All six suspects in the March theft of an 800 pound, eight foot tall wooden Pirate statue from the lobby of the Platte County High School appeared Tuesday in front of Judge Gary Witt in Division 5 of Platte County Circuit Court.

Sentenced were Chase A. Verdoorn, 19, and Kevin L. Remmers, 18. Along with four others, Verdoorn and Remmers faced charges of misdemeanor stealing, first degree trespassing and second degree property damage.

Witt sentenced Verdoorn to two years probation and 200 hours of community service to be performed at the school. He also agreed to pay $122 in restitution to the school and additional fees in court costs.

It was Verdoorn's second appearance in Witt's courtroom in the past two years. In June of 2000, he had been sentenced for assault, at which time he was given 48 hours of shock time in the county jail and two years probation.

As reported in last week's Landmark, the court had granted Verdoorn early release from his probation approximately six months ago.

"This is not the first time you've been here," Witt told Verdoorn. "Last time you assured me you weren't going to be back. Why are you back?" the judge asked.

Verdoorn told the judge: "I'm sorry for my actions and know that what I did was wrong."

Verdoorn's attorney, Rob Redman of Platte City, explained to the judge that his client is a three time state wrestling champion, two time state football champion and has a Division I scholarship to wrestle at the University of Michigan.

Redman said Verdoorn's parents had been in contact with athletic officials at Michigan and were told the school had not yet indicated if this court case would affect Verdoorn's scholarship in any way. He said his client has wrestling obligations he'd like to meet this summer.

Redman told the court the Pirate incident was "a prank that turned bad," adding he realizes any prank should not include criminal activity.

After sentencing, Witt told Verdoorn: "If you want to fulfill your wrestling obligations, I strongly suggest you get started on your community service right away.

"I would also strongly suggest that I don't ever see you back here again," the judge added.

Remmers was the first of the six defendants to be called in front of the judge.

Assistant prosecutor Dawn Schaag noted that Remmers had been cooperative with law enforcement, and it was noted that Remmers was among the first of the suspects to come forward to police to provide details of the crime.

Witt sentenced Remmers to six months of probation and 40 hours of community service. He also is to pay the $122 in restitution and also cover court costs.

Remmers wants to enter the Navy in September. Witt said he would consider early release from the probation providing the other conditions of Remmers' sentencing are completed.

The four defendants granted continuances by Witt on Tuesday were Steve B. Jones, 17; Joseph L. Mules 18; Nicholas R. Jaros, 17; and David R. Poolman, 19. Next court date for each will be July 9 at 9 a.m.

Platte County Prosecutor Tammy Glick declined the chance to comment on the sentences handed down.

"It wouldn't be appropriate to comment with four cases still pending," she said.

The Pirate was stolen during the early morning hours of March 24. After an investigation that went on for several weeks, all six defendants eventually admitted to entering the school unlawfully, according to a statement of probable cause filed by Platte City Police Detective Dennis Trabue. According to court papers, the students admitted that entry was gained by use of school keys assigned to Platte County High School Athletic Director Greg Jaros, the father of defendant Nicholas Jaros.

According to court papers, the defendants further stated that Nick Jaros unlocked a concession stand door, allowing the other five defendants to aid in the theft of the Pirate. Once the students entered through the concession stand door, they proceeded to carry and drag the statue out of the school through the same door, causing damage to the gym floor, the Pirate and the school entry door, court papers allege.