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Bryant pleads to attempted theft

A Sibley man accused of theft of oil and gas equipment pleaded guilty to attempted felony theft last week.

Michael Bryant, 63, of the 100 block of Brushy Creek Road in Sibley, went in front of 26th Judicial District Judge Jeff Thompson and was sentenced to time served. The charges of operating without a driver’s license and operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner were dismissed.

Prosecutor Marcus Patillo says the deal came about because Bryant never actually stole anything.

“He actually didn’t steal the equipment,” Patillo said. “Where the equipment was, the owner caught him and another gentleman there and stopped them. So, technically, he didn’t steal anything so it was attempted felony theft.”

Patillo says he believed Bryant was incarcerated for roughly six months.

The incident occurred Aug. 13, 2013, and Bryant was accused of “stealing machinery, drilling mud, welding equipment, pipe, fittings, pumps or any other oil and gas equipment used in connection with the drilling, production or maintenance of oil and gas wells, with the intent to deprive the owner or lessee of said items of a value of $25,000 or more,” according to his bill of information.

Patillo told the Press-Herald on Aug. 24, that Bryant and another man were attempting to steal some equipment but were stopped before they could get out with the property.

“They had the property, but the owners arrived at the scene before they could take the property,” he said at the time.

The other charges of criminal trespassing and theft under $500 stem from an incident on April 2, 2014, where he was accused of stealing two riding lawn mowers. A trial date of Oct. 23 has been set.

Bryant was originally charged with four warrants: theft of oil and gas equipment, no driver’s license, vehicle without proper equipment and contempt of court. He was also originally charged with simple theft and criminal trespass.

The contempt of court charge was dismissed, and he pleaded down to attempted theft.