News and Press Releases

Lapwai Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Electric Generators

December 12, 2012

COEUR D'ALENE – Michael Eli Wilson, Jr., 22, of Lapwai, Idaho, pleaded guilty yesterday in United States District in Coeur d’Alene to one count of theft exceeding $1,000, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. Wilson, an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Indian Tribe, was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 21, 2012.

According to the plea agreement, Wilson admitted that between April 26 and June 1, 2012, he entered the property of Gem Electric, a small business located in Lapwai, for the purpose of stealing electric generators. Wilson admitted that he sold the generators as scrap metal at Sutton Salvage in Lewiston, Idaho. Sutton Salvage provided records to investigators, which confirmed that Wilson had scrapped electric generators on a number of occasions between April 26 and May 30, 2012. On June 1, employees of Sutton Salvage contacted police after Wilson attempted to scrap additional generators. Wilson absconded before police arrived, but left the generators at the site. The property owner confirmed he was the rightful owner of the generators. Sutton Salvage employees identified Wilson from a photograph lineup. The generators had a value exceeding $1,000.

The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

Wilson is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge on March 4, 2013, at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office, and Nez Perce Tribal Police.