Booking photo for Terry J. Trinkella (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)

LOGAN — A judge has refused a plea deal recommendation for probation and sentenced a 35-year-old Hyrum man to jail for stealing computer equipment while employed at Utah State University. Terry J. Trinkella was ordered to report to the Cache County Jail by Friday to begin serving a 30-day sentence.

Trinkella participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday morning, appearing by web conference. He previously pleaded guilty to burglary, a third-degree felony; and theft, a class A misdemeanor.

In July 2020, the USU Police Department began investigating the disappearance of several computers. The thefts occurred in several buildings on the Logan campus and South Farm campus. The items included computer hard drives, wireless network cards and an Apple Surface Studio computer. The thefts occurred in classrooms that are used for the purpose of transmitting USU courses electronically and are thus kept in an unlocked and accessible state.

Security footage showed Trinkella exiting the building. He was carrying a large square item wrapped in a garbage bag under his right arm.

Police later searched Trinkella’s vehicle and located a backpack that belonged to the defendant. Inside were several items of computer hardware, including hard drives, memory cards, and SD cards.

During Monday’s hearing, defense attorney Courtney Koehler asked the court to follow the plea deal recommendation, made previously with prosecutors and sentence Trinkella to probation. He said his client was going through “difficult times” when the crimes occurred but now accepts responsibility for what he did.

Judge Brandon Maynard said he was “baffled” with attorney’s recommendation for probation instead of jail considering Trinkella had stolen more than $18,200 in equipment. He sentenced the defendant to a month in jail and ordered him to continue paying restitution.

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