Attorneys for a Forsyth County man convicted of taking about $12,000 in trees and plants from a south Forsyth business said he plans to appeal the verdict.
Herbert Martin Lynn was sentenced Tuesday to spend three to four months at the state probation detention center on burglary and theft by taking charges.
After that, he will be on probation for nine years, though that could be terminated for good behavior after five years.
A jury found Lynn guilty of taking various items in March from Wright Nurseries, which is on Melodie Lane, the same street where he lives.
Among the supplies were concrete pots, Monrovia grape trees, Japanese maples, an iron gate, ornamental cabbage, PVC pipes and a washtub.
The jury, however, determined Lynn was not guilty on the remaining three counts of theft by receiving stolen property and two counts of influencing a witness.
Lynn’s attorney, Rafe Banks, said a motion for new trial has been prepared.
“Mr. Lynn got himself inadvertently caught in an unusual situation,” Banks said. “There was something funny going on at that nursery.”
The nursery was just a few doors away from Lynn’s home. According to Banks, Lynn talked with the owner, who he said was facing foreclosure.
Banks said the owner told Lynn he could take what he wanted from the site because he didn’t plan to leave anything for the bank.
According to Banks, Lynn heard the same story from someone else, and later saw a previous owner of the nursery removing items.
But Assistant District Attorney Michael Mahoney said those conversations don’t matter. In the end, Lynn “helped himself to property that wasn’t his.”
“I know he’s claiming that somebody told him that he could take it, but the state’s position is that you don’t get to rely on the word of a total stranger to give you permission to take someone’s property,” Mahoney said.
“And you certainly don’t get to go pilfering through buildings to look for stuff and take stuff as well, whether a stranger has given you permission or not.”
Mahoney sought 120 to 180 days of probation time, but was satisfied with the sentence, given that Lynn didn’t have a criminal record.
Banks noted it could take more than four months for Lynn’s appeal to be heard, meaning if he’s successful, he will have “done time he’ll never get back.”
But Banks said the appeal is a matter of clearing Lynn of wrongdoing.