Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Delavan gun thief gets 12-year sentence

by Rob Ireland

July 05, 2012

ELKHORN — A 34-year-old Delavan man who stole an assault rifle and numerous other firearms and traded them for drugs was sentenced July 6 to 12 years in a state prison by Judge John Race.

Aubrey W. Dahl, of Delavan, pleaded guilty April 27 to felony charges of burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Dahl also was sentenced to 10 years of extended supervision and was found eligible for the earned-release program and the challenge incarceration program. Both programs could reduce the time he is in prison.

Before the thefts, Dahl's father was working as a contractor for a man in Darien and Dahl was helping. Dahl stole a 300-pound safe from the residence, which contained multiple firearms.

District Attorney Phil Koss said it seems unlikely that Dahl removed the safe by himself and Dahl was likely protecting a co-conspirator.

"I have a feeling he had help," Koss said.

Koss said Dahl traded the weapons for drugs in Milwaukee.

"One of those weapons, an assault rifle, has ended up in the streets of Milwaukee," Koss said.

When police searched Dahl's home, they found multiple firearms in an attic. However, some of the firearms are still missing.

"I feel like the maximum," the victim stated. "With his priors and some guns still missing, I don't know where he sold those things. It's a violation of trust."

Dahl has a lengthy criminal history, which was described as "a 2-1/2 page rap sheet." His most serious convictions resulted in a 4-1/2 year prison sentence, but those charges weren't without complications.

During a 2006 jury trial, Dahl was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping. He and a co-conspirator robbed a female jogger on Highway 67. Dahl successfully appealed the conviction and pleaded guilty to lesser charges of attempted armed robbery and attempted kidnapping. He was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison, which was time served.

Koss recommended the sentence that Race imposed. Koss also didn't object to Dahl being eligible for the early-release programs.

"Frankly, I would like him to undergo programming. He somewhat holds the keys to the prison doors," Koss said . "Let's make him test himself. Make him go through the programs and earn it."

Dahl's attorney, Monika Schmieden, asked Race to sentence Dahl to three to four years in prison.

She also expressed concerns that Dahl suffers from undiagnosed mental disorders and needed treatment. She said Dahl had "grandiose ideas," was using drugs and was back in the crime lifestyle before his arrest.

Dahl told a presentence investigator — a Department of Corrections employee who recommends a sentence — that before his arrest he was "like the warrior."

"I had my hair in a Mohawk and was wearing camouflage," said Dahl according to the presentence investigator.

Schmieden said Dahl also believes he is smarter than most people, which may have some truth to it. During the hearing, Koss also said Dahl is of above-average intelligence.

"His father calls him a savant, perhaps this is true," Koss said. "Unfortunately, he isn't a savant at playing the piano. He is a savant at committing crime."

Koss said Dahl also attempted to constantly outsmart law enforcement. Jail conversations were recorded between Dahl and other people.

After being interviewed by a Walworth County Detective, Dahl said "he played it well" during a phone call. He also reportedly said, "If they only knew everything I did, I would never get out."

When Dahl was given a chance to speak, he told the judge he was going to keep it simple.

"I want to apologize to the victim and the court," Dahl said. "My behavior was inexcusable and unacceptable."

When Race sentenced Dahl, he told Dahl he violated the victim's trust. As Race said this, Dahl nodded in the affirmative.

Race also expressed concerns about the firearms.

"Who knows what crimes are being committed with them. (The owner) safeguarded them, he kept them in a safe," Race said. "Somehow or another, he hauled it away and sawed it open, and he released a Pandora's box onto society."