Suspect changes plea in theft case

Published 10:01 am Sunday, July 31, 2016

A 36-year-old Austin man changed his plea to guilty for a May theft.

Daniel Martin Gilles of Austin took a plea agreement in Mower County court Thursday and changed his plea to guilty for one county of felony theft with a firearm.

He had been charged in May with an additional count of felony first-degree burglary, one for possessing of a dangerous weapon and a second for burglary of an occupied dwelling, along with two counts of felony theft for moving and transferring property without consent with a firearm.

Email newsletter signup

Gilles was also accused in a prior case with possessing marijuana at the YMCA. He pleaded not guilty on May 26 to charges of felony fifth-degree drug possession and two petty misdemeanors of possessing a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

At 6:50 a.m. on May 28, officers responded to the 1400 block of Sixth Street Southeast regarding a theft.

The victim said he got home from work at 12:30 a.m. and noticed the back door was open and wouldn’t shut. He heard noises coming from the basement and turned on the basement light, according to court records.

He saw Gilles, who doesn’t live at the residence, standing in the basement. The victim saw a lot of his property in the basement, but didn’t see a revolver he owned.

He confronted Gilles, who later went outside to smoke a cigarette, but did not return.

Police officers saw the open window later and the victim reported there were mud tracks inside the house, but he cleaned them up before calling police.

He reported he was missing a revolver, valued at $300; several hunting knives, valued at $300; a DVD player and DVDs, valued at $115; miscellaneous personal property, unknown value; and a bunch of “pocket change,” unknown value.

Police spoke with a witness who lived in a nearby apartment. He said he heard noises around the apartment complex and walked around to investigate.

He then saw Gilles through the window of the victim’s bedroom. He confronted Gilles and asked what he was doing there.

Gilles said he had no place to live and wanted to charge his cell phone.

Officers interviewed Gilles after he was arrested on a probation violation. Gilles told police he intended to pawn the items to get money, but planned to later repay his dad.

Gilles eventually agreed to help locate the stolen items. He guided officers to an area near Woodson Elementary School and Gilles said he was concerned a kid would get the gun.

They arrived at the residence on the 1400 block of Seventh Street Southeast and located in the shotgun in a black case in some bushes. They also found more items in the 2000 block of East Oakland Avenue after officers learned some items would be there.

They located a duffle bag with other stolen items.

Gilles is scheduled for an Oct. 27 pretrial and Nov. 7 jury trial in the fifth-degree drug case.