Felony charges filed against ex-store manager, homeowner

PAXTON — Felony theft charges have been filed against a former manager of a local construction supplies store and a Paxton resident to whom the manager allegedly gave more than $44,000 in building materials and supplies for use on his home.

The Paxton Police Department announced in a news release Thursday the arrest of 40-year-old Paxton resident Jacob R. Kirkley and 46-year-old Paxton resident Daniel D. Warner.

Warner, who listed an address at 1145 Prospect St., was employed as store manager of Kirchner Building Center, 349 N. Market St., when he allegedly colluded with Kirkley to steal building materials and supplies with an estimated value exceeding $44,000, the news release said.

Paxton police began investigating the series of alleged thefts in mid-February 2017, about a month after Warner’s employment had been terminated.

After Paxton police obtained warrants, Warner was arrested May 30 while Kirkley was arrested Wednesday. Both were released from the Ford County Jail in Paxton after posting bond.

On June 29, Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian filed formal charges against Warner and Kirkley in Ford County Circuit Court. Warner was charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit burglary, a Class 3 felony, and theft of between $10,000 and $100,000, a Class 2 felony. Kirkley was charged with one count of burglary, a Class 2 felony; and two counts of retail theft (more than $300), a Class 3 felony.

The most serious charges — the Class 2 felonies — carry a sentence upon conviction ranging from up to four years of probation to three to seven years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

Warner is due to appear in Ford County Circuit Court at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 2. Officials at the jail and circuit clerk’s office were unable to immediately provide the date of Kirkley’s first court appearance.

According to Paxton police, management employees of Kirchner Building Centers reported the suspected thefts to the police department in mid-February, saying they wished to pursue charges. Warner was accused of providing materials and supplies to Kirkley without payment ever being made from Kirkley to the store.

“It is also believed that this conduct was occurring as of September 2016 and possibly dates prior to September 2016,” the news release from the police department said.

Charging documents filed in circuit court stated that the stolen materials included windows and doors.

Police said they believe that Kirkley, who lists an address at 236 E. Patton St. in Paxton, used the materials on a residence he owns in the 100 block of South Winter Street in Paxton. As a result, Kirchner Building Centers is seeking civil action against Kirkley and the Winter Street property, the police department said in its news release.

Warner was hired in April 2014 as manager of Kirchner Building Center in Paxton; he replaced Dave Parker, a 12-year employee of the company who had worked as manager of the Paxton store for 9 1/2 years.

At the time, Warner had been employed by the company for two years, he told the Rantoul Press for a story about his hiring.

“I feel really blessed to be in this position,” Warner told the Rantoul Press. “I’ve had a really good mentor. I know it’s a big responsibility keeping the same values and customer service that Dave (has exhibited).”

Warner, a native of Phoenix, moved to Paxton in 2003. He worked for six years at Lowe’s in Champaign and operated his own construction business for several years.

Warner also served as wrestling coach at Rantoul Township High School for several years and at Champaign Central High School for four years. He also served as a volunteer assistant with the Paxton-Buckley-Loda wrestling program.

The Paxton and Mahomet stores are among 12 Kirchner outlets, including nine building center yards serving East Central Illinois and three Complete Lumber yards serving Indiana and Kentucky.

wbrumleve@fordcountyrecord.net

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