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Shullsburg man gets prison for string of burglaries
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DARLINGTON - A Shullsburg man was sentenced to prison Wednesday, Aug. 15, for a string of "repeated, calculated" burglaries.

Zachary Lee Huett, 23, was charged in March in Lafayette County Circuit Court with a dozen felony counts of stealing iron and other scrap metal from residences in the area last year, plus related misdemeanor charges.

A similar felony burglary charge is still pending against Huett in Jo Daviess County, Ill.

Defense attorney Philip Brehm argued Huett deserves jail time and probation to allow him to continue working fulltime at a foundry in Browntown and keep him close to his 5-year-old daughter.

But Judge Thomas Vale said probation would depreciate the gravity of the crime and sentenced Huett to two years in prison and five years of extended supervision.

The burglaries weren't "simply a lark," Vale said. "It was repeated ... calculated."

Huett is ordered to pay restitution to the victims, in amounts ranging from about $60 to $3,775.

One victim testified that Huett's thefts shook his family.

"That dirtball stole dignity and a sense of security," said R. J. Spillane. "If you put this individual on parole, it is on the judicial system's conscience."

District Attorney Charlotte Doherty said the state's recommendation of prison time was based on a pre-sentence investigation that showed Huett was at a high risk to reoffend, had shown little remorse and tended to shift accountability onto others for his crimes and substance abuse.

Brehm countered that Huett had been cooperative with authorities and the burglaries didn't involve violence or confrontation.

"These were offenses of stealth. As for empathy for victims, that's what probation is for," Brehm said, adding that issues of remorse can be addressed in counseling.

When given a chance to speak, Huett started by saying, "I really enjoy my job.

"I'd like to be able to keep working and pay the people back," he said.

After the sentencing, Spillane thanked the judge for sending Huett to prison: "Thank you, your Honor. You put a sense of security back for a lot of people."

As he was being handcuffed by a bailiff, Huett looked back at the three people he knew at the sentencing and whispered, "I love you guys."