Osceola County men sentenced for various break-ins

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Two of the men responsible for a multiple break-ins and thefts throughout Osceola County were sentenced last week.

Daniel Weaver, 47, of Marion, and James Lee Berube, 25, of Evart, both were sentenced in Osceola County's 49th Circuit Court. While Berube was sentenced to jail, Weaver received prison time for his crimes.

In June, Weaver pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering with intent and one count of second-degree home invasion.

He was sentenced Friday to between 30 months and 15 years in prison for the home invasion charge, and between 30 months and 10 years in prison for the breaking and entering with intent charges. His sentences will run concurrently. He was given credit for 142 days already served.

Berube also entered a plea in June, pleading guilty to a second-degree home invasion charge with two counts of breaking and entering with intent being dismissed as part of the deal with the Osceola County Prosecutor's Office.

Berube also had another case in Osceola County’s 49th Circuit Court, in which he was facing nine additional felony charges. As part of his plea agreement, Berube also pleaded guilty to two counts of of breaking and entering with intent in his second case, in exchange for one count of criminal enterprises and six counts of breaking and entering with intent to be dismissed by prosecutors.

In both cases, Berube was sentenced to one year in jail with 142 days credit. The sentences will run concurrently. He also will be on probation for two years.

Weaver and Berube are ordered to pay restitution in their cases. The total amount of restitution has not yet been set.

Their co-defendant, Joseph Blake Cruson, of Marion, is set to be sentenced on Friday, July 21, for his part in the crimes.

Cruson had four separate but related cases with various felony charges in Osceola County. He and two other men were arrested in February after police discovered hundreds of items of stolen property. The trio was believed to be connected to dozens of break-ins which had occurred between September 2016 and February 2017 throughout Osceola County.

In his first case, Cruson was charged with two counts of breaking and entering with intent and one count of second-degree home invasion.

Cruson later was charged with one count of operating/maintaining a laboratory used to manufacture methamphetamine, one count of purchasing/possessing ephedrine/pseudoephederine to make methamphetamine and one count of maintaining a drug house. These charges stemmed from two active methamphetamine labs which were found when police executed a search warrant and uncovered the extensive amount of stolen property.

In another case, Cruson was charged with one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, one count of second-degree home invasion and seven counts of breaking and entering with intent.

He also was charged with two counts of attempting to bribe/intimidate/interfere with a case punishable by more than 10 years in prison, allegedly for actions involving contact with his co-defendant.

As part of a plea agreement, Cruson pleaded guilty to the one count of conducting a criminal enterprise, one count of second-degree home invasion and one count of breaking and entering with intent. In exchange for his plea, the remaining charges and cases against him will be dismissed. He will be sentenced as a habitual offender.

The plea agreement calls for a minimum sentenced of five years in prison. He faces a maximum of 40 years in prison. Cruson also must pay restitution with his co-defendants.

In the deal, Cruson agreed to show detectives where the remaining stolen property is, if he knows. The men were arrested in February after police discovered hundreds of items of stolen property. During searches, police recovered furniture, tools, 4-wheelers, golf carts, UTVs, boats, snowmobiles, firearms, electronics, vehicles and more.