Defendant in Islamic Center of Lawrence burglary convicted after entering no contest plea

photo by: Contributed Photos

At left are two images of a suspect in the Aug. 13, 2019 burglary of the Islamic Center of Lawrence. At right are the Douglas County Jail booking photos of Amadou O. Bah.

A man suspected of stealing between $1,000 and $2,000 in cash from the Islamic Center of Lawrence entered a plea of no contest and was convicted Thursday in Douglas County District Court.

Amadou O. Bah, 32, was found guilty of one count of burglary of a nondwelling, a felony. As part of the plea, the prosecutor dropped a low level-severity felony theft charge and a misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property.

Bah was identified as the suspect depicted in surveillance video of a burglary that occurred overnight on Aug. 13 at the Islamic Center, 1917 Naismith Drive, Lawrence police have previously told the Journal-World.

The man in the video can be seen looking at donation boxes inside the center, going back to his car, then returning with bolt cutters and removing two cash donation boxes entirely from the center’s walls, according to the affidavit in the case.

Bah also took the cash from a third donation box, police allege.

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo

In this Journal-World file photo from an open house event on March 17, 2019, two donation boxes with padlocks are visible on a wall inside the Islamic Center of Lawrence, 1917 Naismith Drive.

Bah was arrested on suspicion of an unrelated crime on Aug. 25 in Overland Park; there, police reportedly found nearly $1,200 cash in his possession. After he was released from the Johnson County Jail, Bah was arrested in Omaha, Neb., on a warrant from Douglas County.

Bah’s appointed defense attorney, Julia Butler, said that Bah held a permanent resident card and that he was aware that the felony conviction could affect his immigration proceedings.

Douglas County District Court Judge Amy Hanley agreed to allow Bah to be released from the Douglas County Jail with GPS monitoring pending his sentencing. He has been in custody on a $15,000 cash or surety bond since he was booked into the jail on Sept. 4; Hanley agreed to modify his bond to own recognizance.

Prosecutor Eve Kemple did not object to that, she said, but if Bah were to reoffend prior to his sentencing, that would change her recommendation.

Bah has no apparent criminal history, meaning he will likely face probation for a minimum of 11 months. The maximum sentence for the crime would be 32 months in prison.

Bah will have to pay restitution for the cash he is alleged to have stolen as well as for damage to the window through which he entered. The exact amount was not given, but according to the charging document in his case the damage was less than $1,000.

Bah will be sentenced Nov. 20. Butler declined to comment for this article.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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Related coverage

Oct. 11, 2019: Suspect in Islamic Center of Lawrence burglary was arrested with nearly $1,200 cash, affidavit alleges

Sept. 5, 2019: Man charged in connection with burglary of Islamic Center of Lawrence

Sept. 4, 2019: Suspect in Islamic Center of Lawrence burglary booked into Douglas County Jail

Aug. 28, 2019: Suspect in burglary at Islamic Center of Lawrence arrested again, in Omaha; faces extradition

Aug. 26, 2019: Man suspected in Islamic Center of Lawrence burglary arrested in Overland Park

Aug. 21, 2019: Suspect in Islamic Center of Lawrence burglary might be tied to similar Wichita crime

Aug. 20, 2019: Burglary reported at Islamic Center of Lawrence; police seek help identifying suspect


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