A Lincoln man accused of stealing several vehicles in Nebraska before crossing into Iowa and assaulting a roads worker while burglarizing yet another vehicle has pleaded guilty to one charge, according to court records.
Michael A. Beard, 32, was sentenced in Iowa to a prison term not to exceed five years after he pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary.
Four theft charges, two other burglary charges, a criminal mischief charge, an assault charge and an interference with official acts charge have been dismissed, according to court records.
Once Beard has served his time in Iowa, he will be handed over to authorities in Saunders County, Neb., where he faces burglary, theft and possession of stolen property charges, according to the Saunders County Attorney’s Office.
The Lancaster County Attorney’s office will decide whether to file charges against Beard in the next few weeks.
“We intend to file charges but … two or three jurisdictions are already in there ahead of us,” said Joe Kelly, Lancaster County Attorney.
The string of events that led to Beard’s arrest near Modale, Iowa, in late September apparently began in Lincoln with the theft of a 1999 Plymouth Neon, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner has said. That Neon was later found on fire near 80th Street and Agnew Road southeast of Ceresco, Neb.
A 1999 Toyota Tacoma pickup parked nearby was stolen. That pickup was later found near rural Yutan, in Saunders County. A nearby electrical company’s truck was stolen.
At some point, authorities suspect Beard stole a Ford F-150 truck and drove to Iowa. A Harrison County roads crew found him rummaging through a vehicle parked at the county shed south of Modale.
There, according to roads worker Dan Derengowski and authorities, Beard tried to flee, punching Derengowski and ramming a vehicle driven by another roads worker before abandoning the F-150 and running off.
The next day, the Omaha police helicopter found Beard hiding in a cornfield.