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November 26, 2012 05:49 PM

Argus Leader Carrier Gets 60 Years For Burglary

Sioux Falls, SD

A former Argus Leader newspaper delivery man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for burglarizing homes on his route.

Patrick VanWagner, 30, was sentenced to 60 years in prison Monday for six counts of first-degree burglary. VanWagner won't be parole eligible until he is at least 75 years old.

When homeowners told the Argus Leader they wanted their newspaper delivery suspended while they were out of town, prosecutors say VanWagner would use that information to burglarize the homes and get away with coins, jewelry and family collectibles.

"He would take that information. He would case their homes by going by at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. at night and see what lights were on. Then he'd come back after midnight and get in and leisurely search their homes," Iosty said.

VanWagner was ordered to pay up to $100,000 in restitution Monday, but Iosty says a price tag can't be put on many of the items VanWagner stole.

"He stole so many people's wedding sets and their heirloom jewelry. He stole many victims' parents’ wedding rings," Iosty said.

One of VanWagner’s victims says that he stole her husband's wedding ring, a diamond bracelet and he even searched her home and found the keys to break into her safe.

Authorities say VanWagner can be connected to 20 separate burglaries.

So what did the former Argus Leader delivery man do with the valuables? Prosecutors say they found 150 pawn shop transactions in VanWagner's name.

"Most of the heirloom rings and jewelry of victims of their parents and their aunts and uncles were not recovered and will not be recovered I don't think," Iosty said.

When VanWagner was originally arrested in January, the Argus Leader said that the 30-year-old was terminated from his job delivering newspapers.

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