Ryan Lappegard of Sioux Falls pleaded not guilty Tuesday, Feb. 18, in state court to a charge of stealing a $10,000 truck from Graham Tire in Pierre back on Sept. 9, 2019.
Lappegard, 28, ordinarily would face a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison for the Class 4 felony charge of grand theft of something worth between $5,000 and $100,000, state Judge Bridget Mayer told him.
But Hughes County State’s Attorney Roxanne Hammond is also charging Lappegard with being a “habitual offender,” who has five previous felony convictions in three South Dakota counties from 2010-2018, Mayer said.
If Hammond proves that he had three or more earlier felonies, Lappegard could face up to 25 years in prison because they would “enhance” the sentence by two steps, Mayer told him.
The felony convictions were for drug crimes and a DUI as a third offense.
Lappegard served a stretch in prison after he was stopped in 2013 in Union County in southeast South Dakota when a police officer saw a “one-pot system” meth lab on the passenger seat of his vehicle. According to a June 11,2014, news release from Union County State’s Attorney Jerry Miller, Lappegard and a cousin had been buying pseudoephedrine at pharmacies to make the meth. He first was sentenced to Teen Challenge, a Christian treatment program based in Brookings. But during his term there, he went on furlough and was found in Watertown, his hometown, trespassing and intoxicated. He was sent to prison.
On Tuesday with his attorney David Siebrasse, Lappegard pleaded not guilty to the Pierre theft charge and denied the habitual offender allegation. Mayer set his next appearance for March 3.
Lappegard has been in the Hughes County Jail under a $10,000 cash-only bond and appeared with other “in-custody” defendants in court on Tuesday.
He asked for a reduction in bond so he could go back to work for his father at a Sioux Falls iron company that works on water towers. He had been living in a half-way house in Sioux Falls, working 55 hours a week and earning $3,500 a month, and wanted the opportunity to keep doing that, Lappegard said.
Hammond spoke against any reduction in bond because she said Lappegard had failed twice to keep pre-trial conditions and had a not-short criminal history.
Mayer cut it to $5,000 cash bond.
Lappegard said he still would not be able to go his bail, and asked Mayer if she could make it $5,000 cash or surety bond. The judge agreed.
As of Thursday night, Lappegard remained in the Hughes County Jail in Pierre.