Eau Claire man sentenced to 60 days in jail in connection with burglary at Rock Creek home destroyed by fire

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — A Dunn County judge has withheld sentence and ordered a 34-year-old Eau Claire man to spend 60 days in jail in connection with a burglary at a Rock Creek home destroyed by fire.

Michael A. Tenney appeared before Judge Rod Smeltzer October 12 with his attorney, Shelly Tomtschik, for a plea and sentencing hearing.

Tenney pleaded guilty to one felony count of the theft of movable property worth between $5,000 and $10,000.

Judge Smeltzer accepted Tenney’s guilty plea on the Class H felony with a repeater modifier, imposed and stayed a sentence of 18 months in prison and 18 months of extended supervision, and ordered Tenney to spend 60 days in the county jail.

The burglary occurred in a home in the Town of Rock Creek destroyed by fire October 11, 2017, that displaced the family from the residence.

According to a news release from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department dated November 13, 2017,  in the early morning hours of November 2, a family member had arrived at the residence and discovered two unknown men with a vehicle behind the residence.

One of the items stolen from the house, which is believed to have been sold by the suspects, was a signed red No. 45 Michael Jordan basketball jersey given to the family’s six-year-old daughter and made available through the “Make A Wish” foundation.

According to the criminal complaint, the family member who went to the Rock Creek property saw two men inside the house with headlamps who were removing property.

When the woman asked the men what they were doing, they said they were “looting the house.”

The woman told the two men to “get out.” The men had a garbage can full of property from the house that they loaded into their vehicle and then left.

The other suspect in the case, Ryan Weiss, is scheduled for a jury trial in Dunn County in January.

Tenney told investigators he had seen Weiss in possession of three or four older BB guns matching the description of BB guns stolen from the house in Rock Creek, according to the complaint.

Tenney took investigators to the garage of his residence in Eau Claire and showed them several tool boxes and said he believed Weiss had stolen most if not all of the tools.

Tenney also showed investigators a backpack containing two sets of camouflage clothing he said Weiss and his girlfriend, Tabitha Sears, would wear when they robbed houses at night, the complaint states.

The backpack also contained an antique handheld magnifying glass later identified by a family member as belonging to her father and that had been stolen during the burglary in Rock Creek.

As a convicted felon, Tenney cannot vote and cannot possess a firearm.

Judge Smeltzer ordered Tenney to report to the Dunn County jail by 5 p.m. November 2.

A restitution hearing is scheduled January 4.

Tenney also is required to pay $268 in court costs, a $250 DNA surcharge and a $10 drug surcharge. 

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