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Article posted: 1/16/2013 4:52 PM

Ex-Naperville school worker guilty of 4,500-pound copper theft

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A man who stole 4,500 pounds of copper from a school while working for Naperville Unit District 203 has been ordered to pay restitution of $3,400.

James Logan, 53, of Montgomery, pleaded guilty Monday to theft over $500. He can avoid the felony conviction if he completes a new "pretrial diversion" program for first-time offenders.

Police said it took Logan about nine months to remove 4,500 pounds of copper from a storage area under a set of bleachers at Naperville Central High School, though they weren't sure how he did it.

The former building and grounds employee was identified as a suspect while police investigated a theft of $1,000 from the district transportation center. He also was charged with that crime.

Logan was among the first 10 defendants accepted into a new program aimed at giving a second chance to first-time, nonviolent offenders. The program was launched last fall by DuPage State's Attorney Bob Berlin and is tailored to individual defendants.

In Logan's case, he must spend 10 days on work detail at the sheriff's office, write an apology to the school district, attend 12-step meetings for substance abuse, maintain employment, pay restitution of $3,400, and have regular contact with a program administrator.

Prosecutors said they would dismiss the case if he completes all components of the program within a year and isn't arrested on any new charges during that time. If he doesn't complete the program, he could face up to seven years in prison.

So far, the state's attorney's office has accepted 10 defendants into the program and turned down five. Fourteen applications were pending as of Wednesday, officials said.

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