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Former RR Donnelley employee pleads guilty to metal theft over three years

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 9:09 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — CHARLESTON — A former employee of the Mattoon RR Donnelley Co. plant was ordered to pay the plant more than $60,000 when he admitted stealing metal sheeting while he worked there.

The restitution was one of the terms of the sentence Wallace K. Sanders received when he pleaded guilty to a theft charge.

Sanders, 55, of Westfield entered the plea to a charge that accused him of stealing about 140,000 pounds of the sheeting over a three-year period and altering company records to try to hide the thefts.

With the agreement reached in his case, Sanders received a sentence of two years of probation for the conviction that could have resulted in a three- to seven-year prison term.

The charge was a felony because the value of the stolen materials was more than $10,000.

Sanders was arrested in May following an investigation by the Coles County Sheriff’s Office at the plant on U.S. 45 north of Mattoon.

At the time of the arrest, sheriff’s detective John Clough said the investigation showed that Sanders worked alone during late-night and weekend shifts at the plant. On average, he loaded about 1,100 pounds of the metal sheeting each week onto his own vehicle and took it from the plant, according to Clough.

The alleged thefts occurred between July 2008 and July 2011.

The plant uses the metal sheeting in the printing process and then sells it to be recycled, Clough said. He said a plant supervisor found in a copy machine one of the records that Sanders reportedly altered, then discovered a 2,300-pound discrepancy between what the record showed and how much of the sheeting was actually loaded to be shipped.

Terms of Sanders’ probation sentence also included a month in jail with more jail time stayed, meaning he won’t have to serve it if he follows his sentence’s other requirements.

Circuit Judge James Glenn imposed the sentence based on the terms of a plea agreement that Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Bucher and defense attorney Chad Miller recommended.

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