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Jaros enters guilty plea in Pirate theft

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

The last of the defendants in the case of the nearly 800-pound wooden Pirate statue stolen from the lobby of the Platte County High School learned his fate Tuesday morning in Platte County Circuit Court Division III.

His fate turned out to be somewhat similar to what the other five defendants had encountered.

Despite earlier statements by his attorney that he would seek a jury trial, the last defendant, 17-year-old Nicholas Jaros, pled guilty this week. In a plea agreement with the Platte County Prosecutor's Office, Jaros was sentenced to one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and $122 in restitution to be paid to the Platte County R-3 School District for damage to the property.

Judge Daniel Czamanske waived court costs for Jaros, who presented documentation that he has already worked 100 hours of community service for the school district.

"I'm not gonna see you in here again, am I?" the judge asked Jaros.

"No, your honor," was the reply.

Jaros' decision to plead guilty rather than go through a jury trial may have been prompted by a recent revelation that under Missouri State High School Activities Association guidelines, he would not have been eligible to compete in football games until his court case was completed. He is a member of the Pirates' two-time defending state champion football squad which opens its season on Sept. 6.

Up until two weeks ago school officials had been operating under the belief Jaros would be eligible to participate in games. Matthew O'Connor, Jaros' attorney, recently declined the opportunity to answer a question of whether the eligibility issue would have an effect on Jaros' earlier stated intention of seeking a jury trial.

Jaros joins five other defendants—Steve B. Jones, 17; Joseph L. Mules, 18; Kevin L. Remmers, 18; David R. Poolman, 19; and Chase A. Verdoorn, 19—who have pled guilty to misdemeanor counts of stealing, first degree trespassing, and first degree property damage.

All were given varying sentences of community service and probation time, depending on prior records and their cooperation in the investigation.

Court documents filed by the prosecution alleged the students gained entry into the school building using keys issued to Nick Jaros' father, who is the athletic director at the high school. The theft took place in late March; the wooden-carved Pirate was recovered several days later in a park at Tiffany Springs.

Platte County Prosecutor Tammy Glick said Jaros' community service hours at the school were overseen by the school resource officer.