Colfax Railroad Museum thief still has not paid $7,000 in restitution

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Although it will be two years in June since a 27-year-old Colfax man convicted of a felony for stealing iron from the Colfax Railroad Museum was ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution, he has yet to pay any of the money. 

Donald J. Binder contacted Dunn County Circuit Court by telephone for a review hearing January 9 before Judge Rod Smeltzer. 

Binder was sentenced to eight months in jail and three years of probation in April of 2015, and during a sentencing hearing in June of 2015 was ordered to pay $6,950 in restitution to the railroad museum.

According to online court records, during the January 9 review hearing, Judge Smeltzer learned that Binder’s mother had made contact with the Dunn County district attorney’s office to say that none of the restitution had been paid. 

Binder said he had lost his job just before Christmas and that he had given payments to his probation agent for some of the restitution. 

Judge Smeltzer scheduled a March court hearing and ordered Binder to bring documentation of the restitution he has paid. 

Binder pleaded no contest in April of 2015 and was found guilty of one felony count of theft of moveable property valued between $5,000 and $10,000.

A second misdemeanor count of theft of moveable property valued at less than $2,500 for stealing materials from Anderson Bridges in Colfax was dismissed on a prosecutor’s motion.

Binder is on probation until June of 2018. During the June of 2015 court hearing, Judge Smeltzer withheld sentencing and placed Binder on three years of probation, and as a condition of probation, ordered Binder to spend eight months in jail with Huber privileges for work. 

At the time of the sentencing hearing, Dunn County District Attorney Andrea Nodolf asked Judge Smeltzer to sentence Binder to two years of initial confinement in state prison and three years of probation because Binder has exhibited a “continual pattern” of theft.

Binder was charged with burglary as a party to a crime along with theft of moveable property worth less than $2,500 related to an incident in January of 2012 and received a deferred prosecution agreement in April of that year.

He was charged with obstructing an officer in April of 2012 and was sentenced to 20 days in jail in June of 2012.

Binder was again charged with theft related to an incident in May of 2013. The charged was dismissed in September of that year.

Binder was found guilty of entry into a locked coin box at the Colfax Laundromat that occurred in June of 2013 and was sentenced to ten days in jail, one year of probation and restitution in January of 2014.

Binder was again charged with theft of moveable property worth less that $2,500 in April of 2014, was ordered to pay restitution of $453, was placed on one year of probation and had probation revoked in December of 2014. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail and was given 50 days of credit.

The iron pieces stolen from the Colfax Railroad Museum, as it turned out, were not simply pieces of scrap iron but were specific parts for restoring train cars.

In addition to restitution of $6,950 to the Colfax Railroad Museum, Binder also was ordered to pay $1,442 to another individual.

Binder’s next review hearing is scheduled for March 27 at 9 a.m.