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Man sentenced to probation in church burglaries

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) -- A Hutchinson man was sentenced to two years of probation for his role in burglaries at four churches and attempting to burglarize a fifth.

A judge departed from state guidelines while sentencing 24-year-old Justin Branscom, who was also ordered to apologize to each church and pay more than $3,000 in restitution.

Branscom's probation through Community Corrections won't start until he finishes serving a two-year prison term for previously violating probation in a 2008 arson at a jewelry store in Hutchinson.

The Hutchinson News reports (http://bit.ly/U69xDF ) Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder asked the judge to sentence Branscom to the maximum sentence of 38 months.

A 16-year-old co-defendant was granted probation after pleading guilty to 14 burglaries. Another received probation for five burglaries and a fourth is awaiting trial.