The Iowa Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a Woodbury County man who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing a saw. The Iowa Court of Appeals upheld Michael Kluge’s second degree theft conviction. The new trial is to determine the value of the property he stole. The Court of Appeals ruled a lower court erred when it included sales tax when calculating the value of the stolen property. Kluge rented a tile saw from a store in Sioux City and then pawned it in South Sioux City, Nebraska. The reason for the new trial just to determine the value of the saw is that adding sales tax may have elevated the property crime from an aggravated misdemeanor to a class “D” felony. That felony conviction means Kluge was labeled an “habitual offender” and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Kluge says the rental store bought the saw in 1995 for 735 dollars. State prosecutors said it would cost just over one-thousand dollars to replace it — and they included sales tax in their calculation. A jury or a judge will now have to decide what the saw was worth, without adding sales tax.
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