A 19-year-old Sarona resident has been fined $720.50 and given a year’s probation in connection with a misdemeanor auto theft charge, according to results of a Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, hearing in Barron County Circuit Court.

In a deal with prosecutors, Elias Schulz, Sarona, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

According to a complaint filed in April 2020, Schulz was originally charged with felony vehicle theft after he asked to borrow the 2010 Ford Fusion to pick up a friend in Barron on April 16, and then return the car to its owner.

The owner waited several hours, then called 911 to report the car had been stolen after he tracked it with his phone as it left Wisconsin and eventually headed west to the Minnesota-North Dakota border.

The next day, April 17, the phone app showed the car was headed back to Wisconsin. Two deputies later stopped and arrested Schulz and a codefendant on U.S. Hwy. 8 near Poskin.

At the Dec. 23 hearing, Schulz also pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana.

Court records also indicate Schulz’ record could be expunged if he abides by terms of probation.