Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Diversion granted in theft case

July 17, 2012


A 36-year-old Tonganoxie man accused of stealing from a Lawrence couple over several years has reached a diversion agreement with prosecutors.

Douglas County prosecutors in February had charged Michael A. Kirby with two counts of felony theft of $1,000 to $25,000; identity theft; misdemeanor criminal use of a financial card; and felony attempted criminal use of a financial card.

In his diversion agreement, Kirby admitted to stealing a gold Rolex watch from the victims in 2008 and stealing cash from the couple’s home from January 2009 to October 2011.

Kirby had assisted his mother with cleaning the victims’ house, the agreement said. In October 2011, he also obtained a Social Security number from one victim while inside the house and used it to open a credit card account while adding himself as an authorized user. He was unsuccessful at transferring his own credit card balances to the card. The transfers were canceled when it was learned the card was fictitious.

According to the agreement filed Monday, Kirby was required to pay $395 in diversion and court costs. He also agreed to abstain from using alcohol and drugs, to complete at least 100 hours of community service, enroll and complete a theft offender program and a gambling addiction class, and write an apology letter to the victims.

Prosecutors agreed to suspend prosecution of the case and dismiss the charges if he fulfills terms and conditions of the agreement.


usesomesense 5 years, 9 months ago

Wow! What a nice slap on th wrist! That'll teach him!

Topple 5 years, 9 months ago

It's obvious we just need to spend $40 million on a new police station and 40+ new police officers to address issues like this!

NotASquishHead 5 years, 9 months ago

This is exactly why the police department needs the $40,000,000! The prosecutors won't work to punish anyone in this county. It always amazes me how little punishment thieves, forgers, and others get on this county. What a joke.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 9 months ago

Honestly, what sort of punishment would you all expect for a low-level crime like this? Should we send this guy to jail? We incarcerate at a higher rate than any other nation, so that seems to be the knee-jerk answer. But we can't afford to keep doing that and frankly it's counterproductive.

This guy has to do community service, which seems like a better way to connect him to a community. People who feel connected to their community are less likely to commit crimes. Incarcerating him would only create more distance.

He has to participate in a theft offender program and a gambling addiction class, things targeted toward the root causes of this offense. Sounds good to me.

And that letter of apology that a poster above mocked is actually a good idea. There is a movement out there toward reparative justice, which encourages this kind of outreach from offender to victim and which has yielded some very positive results.

And if he screws up at any of this or anything else while he's on diversion, this case can still come back and result in a sentence.

All of which sounds more potentially beneficial to us as a society than mindlessly tossing him in jail for months.

jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

No mention of restitution to the victims.

I'm not in favor of throwing these guys in jail, but restitution would be nice.

ebyrdstarr 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm curious why the article doesn't mention restitution because making provisions for restitution is supposed to be a key component in a diversion agreement. (if restitution is applicable, that is.)

jayhawkgirl32 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with ebyrdstarr. Not to mention, this story doesn't tell you everything. If the victim isn't getting repayment, then most likely, the victim declined repayment, whether for personal reasons or maybe his/her credit card company covered the loss, which means either the the credit card company or the victim could come after him in a separate claim to cover the loss. I also think, in this case, the apology letter is a good gesture.

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