By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A Springfield, Ill., man could be sent to prison for more than three years after he pleaded guilty to retail theft charges of a Quincy electronics store.
Leonski D. Higgins, 34, pleaded guilty to retail theft. As part of a plea agreement, he faces a sentencing cap of 3 1/2 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections when he is sentenced Sept. 4 by Judge William Mays.
Another retail theft charge against Higgins was dismissed as part of the agreement. Without the negotiation, Higgins could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. He is eligible for probation.
Higgins was one of five people from Springfield who were arrested April 22 for allegedly stealing laptops and other electronics from Best Buy, 6020 Broadway. He was one of four people who entered the store and left with laptop computers and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones that night. Each of the four suspects allegedly stole one laptop computer. As a group, they collected 14 headphones. The electronics were valued at $6,933.96.
The group was in the store for less than three minutes. Adams County First Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said the four went to the computer area of the store before going to the area where the headphones were sold. A store employee and another witness saw a vehicle car park next to the front door and leave with the suspects. The vehicle, which had Ohio license plates, was stopped by a Illinois State Police trooper in Pike County, and all the stolen items were recovered.
During a preliminary hearing May 14, Peter Hummel, an officer with the Quincy Police Department, testified that Higgins admitted to stealing one Dell computer and three headphones. Higgins told investigators that he planned to resell the items on the street for half of their value. Higgins was found guilty of selling crack cocaine in Sangamon County in 2001, a federal charge.
Higgins has been lodged in the Adams County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.