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Teens ordered to repay $49K for barn fires

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 1:44 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 3:49 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – The second of two teens charged with a string of barn fires in rural McHenry County was ordered to split nearly $50,000 in restitution with his co-defendant

Joseph Ryan Gerdes, 18, of Crystal Lake, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of arson, a Class 2 felony, in a plea deal accepted by McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather. Remaining arson and criminal damage to property charges were dismissed as part of the agreement.

Gerdes and co-defendant Andrew L. Wiegand, 18, must repay a total of $48,357.96 or $24.178.98 each. Wiegand previously entered a guilty plea in June.

"What that means, sir, is if your co-defendant doesn't pay his share, you could be responsible for the entire amount," Prather told the teen, who acknowledged that he understood the arrangement.

According to court documents, the fires were started over a month-long period in the summer of 2012 in Woodstock, Marengo and Harvard.

Gerdes, like Wiegand, was sentenced to two years of probation. Gerdes also was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and a 158 days in McHenry County Jail if he fails to meet the terms and conditions of his probation.

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