PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A Pierre man has pleaded not guilty to four counts linked to a rash of vehicle thefts in January. 19-year-old James Cowman was arrested January 10 after multiple vehicles were stolen from the Pierre, Fort Pierre and Hughes County areas the day before. Cowman appeared in a Pierre courtroom yesterday for an arraignment and pleaded not guilty to Hughes County charges that include two counts of Grand Theft, one count of Intentional Damage to Private Property and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. All of the charges are felonies. The Grand Theft and Intentional Damage charges bring a maximum penalty upon conviction of ten years, a $20,000 fine or both and the charge of Possessing a Stolen Vehicle brings a sentence of up to five years, a $10,000 fine or both. A trial date in Cowman’s case has been set for April 23 and 24. Jury selection will begin at 9:00 a.m. on April 23. He remains in custody on $15,000 cash bond.
Another teen charged in the same theft spree is expected to appear in a Fort Pierre courtroom next month for a preliminary hearing. Robert Larson was arrested last month on Stanley County charges of Grand Theft of a Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle, Aggravated Eluding, Obstructing Law Enforcement, Resisting Arrest and DUI-3rd Offense. Law enforcers responded to at least six reports of stolen vehicles on January 9. When one of the stolen vehicles was spotted being driven that morning, it was the focus of a law enforcement pursuit in Fort Pierre with speeds reaching about 55 mph. The pursuit ended in a foot chase when the driver fled the vehicle. Larson was arrested a short time later after he was reportedly discovered hiding under a mobile home in Fort Pierre. He remains in custody on a $10,000 cash bond. His next court hearing will be March 12 at 2:30 p.m.
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