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Ex-Thief River Falls cop sentenced to a year in jail

A former Thief River Falls police officer who pleaded guilty in a stolen-property case was sentenced today to a year behind bars.

Paul Kezar, 38, must also serve 300 hours of community service and up to 20 years of supervised probation, Pennington County Attorney Al Rogalla said.

Rogalla said Kezar apologized in court to local law enforcement, and following the hearing in Thief River Falls, he was handcuffed and taken into custody. He'll do his time in the Marshall County jail, Rogalla said.

Kezar was sentenced on two felony charges of possessing stolen property in Pennington County and two such charges in Marshall County.

State District Judge Michael Kraker imposed restrictions on Kezar's Internet use, particularly buying and selling items on sites like Craigslist. Kezar was ordered to be screened for a possible gambling problem. He must also apologize to victims and pay them thousands of dollars in restitution.

Authorities said Kezar was involved in stealing items such as boats, trailers, snowmobiles, lawnmowers and all-terrain vehicles. A search of his home turned up several items -- worth a total of more than $50,000 -- that had been reported stolen from businesses and individuals, authorities said.

The Thief River Falls Police Department hired Kezar in January 2009. He was charged in October 2009, and city officials fired him the next month.

Rogalla said the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training plans to revoke Kezar's peace-officer license.