A Hyrum man convicted for the theft and burglary of Utah State University computer equipment was sentenced to 30 days in jail on Monday despite contrary recommendations.
Terry Jason Trinkella, 35, pleaded guilty in 1st District Court to one count of third-degree burglary and class-A theft in August. As part of a plea agreement seven charges were dismissed and the parties agreed to around $18,800 in restitution.
During Trinkella’s appearance in court via video conference call, defense attorney Courtney Koehler told the court his client had been going through a difficult time when the thefts occurred and he had taken responsibility for his actions. Koehler said neither prosecutors nor Adult Probation and Parole were recommending jail time.
Cache County prosecutor Jacob Gordon told the court he agreed with the recommendation. He did ask the court to implement a restitution payment plan, but also agreed to a reduction in charges after restitution was paid.
Trinkella declined to address the court.
Judge Brandon Maynard said the pre-sentence investigation report provided by Adult Probation and Parole provided “no real help” in the case beside classifying Trinkella as “low risk.” Maynard also inquired to counsel about Trinkella’s paying restitution in full.
“He doesn’t have the means to pay it all up front,” Koehler told the court.
Ultimately, Maynard said he was surprised by the recommendations and sentenced Trinkella to 30 days in the Cache County Jail.
“This is baffling to me,” Maynard said.
Maynard imposed a payment plan of $500 a month and a term of probation. Trinkella was ordered to report to the jail by Friday.
Documents filed with the court state USU police were investigating several thefts of computer hardware from campus buildings. In July 2020 security footage depicted Trinkella, then employed by USU as a generator technician, carrying “a large square item wrapped in a garbage bag under his right arm,” and drove away in a pickup registered to the university.
After consulting with counsel and getting consent to search from the vehicle’s responsible party, officers “devised a plan” to search the vehicle only in areas “without an expectation of privacy.”
”Any containers or other items that appeared to be personal belongings of Terry Trinkella would not be searched without a warrant,” police wrote.
Computer equipment was found in the vehicle that was uncommon, police wrote. A warrant was executed for Trinkella’s personal items in the truck; police found hard drives and other computer hardware. USU Police Captain Kent Harris told The Herald Journal in August 2020 that Trinkella voluntarily turned over other items at his home.