Burglary accomplice gets probation
ELKHORN One of the three men suspected in a burglary spree that spanned six Wisconsin counties was sentenced Wednesday in Walworth County to eight and a half years of probation.
Daniel J. Hodge, 33, Janesville, already is serving 10 years in prison after convictions in Jefferson and Lafayette counties. Walworth County Judge John Race said Wednesday he didn't believe Hodge stood to benefit from further incarceration on top of his other sentences.
Hodge still has pending cases in other jurisdictions, including Rock County, where he is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 9. He asked Race for mercy, offering apologies to his victims and promising to change his life.
"I don't want to be remembered as Daniel Hodge the burglar," Hodge said during a short statement to Race. "There's more to me than just that, and I don't want to be remembered as that. If there was anything I could do to make up for it, (I would)."
Hodge pleaded guilty in May to felony charges of theft and burglary. Other misdemeanor charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Hodge is accused of committing the crimes with his nephew, Brandon Kinder, 26, of Orfordville, and Brandon's cousin Matthew Kinder, 22, Beloit. Hodge told investigators after his arrest he was involved in about 75 burglaries across the state.
Police said the three stole televisions, laptop computers, video game equipment and other merchandise they thought would make them money. Court records indicate they broke into several homes, eight bars, two churches and a campground office.
They later started breaking into bars and on at least one occasion stole an ATM, according to court records.
Race said police were led to Hodge and Brandon Kinder after someone overheard Hodge in a bar bragging about the crimes.
Police documented a number of burglaries, beginning in December 2009 and ending in October 2010, when Hodge and Brandon Kinder were arrested breaking into D-Day's Bar and Grill near Cambridge.
Race expressed concern over Hodge's "substantial record," which includes sexual assault, three disorderly conduct charges and bail jumping. Race acknowledged the prosecution and defense both supported probation.
Brandon Kinder has yet to be convicted on cases in Rock, Walworth, Jefferson and La Crosse counties. Hodge spoke briefly about his nephew, saying he failed to be a better role model.
"I want to apologize to my nephew. I should have set a better example," Hodge said. "I didn't help him."
Hodge faces at least five more felony charges in Vernon County. Earlier this year, he was sentenced in Jefferson County to consecutive three-year prison sentences in addition to four and a half years in prison imposed in Lafayette County.