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Austin man sentenced to 120 days in jail for crime spree

An Austin man who pleaded guilty to three felonies after being accused of stealing a vehicle and using it in additional crimes was sentenced to 120 days in jail on Friday.

Chad Bruce Sabanish, 37, was convicted of simple robbery, motor vehicle theft and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, all felonies, during an incident on April 16. Two additional felonies, a second-degree aggravated robbery charge and a theft of movable property charge were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Judge Fred Wellmann made the ruling Friday in Mower County District Court. Sabanish was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service and 10 years probation and must pay $280.25 in restitution.

The felony charges stem from an 18-hour crime spree that began the afternoon of April 16. That's when Sabanish is alleged to have stolen a black SUV from an Austin business as the vehicle's owner was putting air in a rear tire.

Shortly before 1 a.m. the next day, the same vehicle and driver were allegedly involved in a gas drive-off at the Kwik Trip on Fourth Street Northwest; six hours later, a clerk at the Lake Geo Travel Plaza in Dexter reported being robbed by a man who escaped in a black SUV.


An Austin police officer who was responding to the robbery call spotted the SUV and began a pursuit that reached speeds of more than 80 mph.

Law enforcement officers placed stop sticks in the road in an attempt to disable the vehicle, but Sabanish allegedly drove around them.

The chase, which covered nearly 20 miles, ended at the T-intersection of the Mower-Dodge county line when Sabanish lost control of the vehicle, which ended up in the north ditch. About $220 believed to be from the travel plaza robbery was found in the vehicle.

A review of Sabanish's criminal history reveals he was convicted Feb. 18 of theft by check, a misdemeanor, and sentenced to 30 days in jail, which were stayed.

In November 2010, Sabanish had been sentenced to 60 days in jail after being convicted of misdemeanor theft of movable property. That sentence also was stayed.

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