Career burglar Vaughn Yaints, who is suspected of starting the fire that destroyed Petersen Flowers in Kingfield earlier this year, was sentenced Oct. 9 to more than 13 years in prison for a home burglary.
Yaints, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree burglary for breaking into a South Minneapolis home one day after the February 8 fire at 410 W. 38th St.
Because he has multiple burglary convictions, Yaints qualified as a career criminal, enabling prosecutors to seek the maximum statutory sentence of 20 years for his crime, said Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar in a news release this month. To qualify as a career offender, an individual must have at least five prior convictions.
Hennepin County District Judge E. Anne McKinsey’s sentence for Yaints is three times the 57 months recommended under state guidelines. The case he was sentenced for involved a Feb. 9 burglary on the 4100 block of Bryant Ave. S.
Yaints was released from prison in November and faces three other home burglary charges from January and February, for which his sentence could be lengthened. The fire at Petersen Flowers is still being investigated and Yaits could also receive a longer sentence if convicted of that crime. He has denied setting fire to the community flower store, but he is still a suspect in the case.
Petersen Flowers is being rebuilt and is scheduled to reopen Nov. 24. The store will sell Christmas trees this year. Petersen Flowers can be reached at 823-7311.