WATERLOO, Iowa --- A Waterloo man has been sentenced to probation for stealing guns, bayonets and other artifacts from a Cedar Falls museum.
What remains to be seen is if David Lynn Arnold's conviction for first-degree theft will come off his criminal record in the future.
Prosecutor Peter Blink said Arnold may not be eligible for a deferred judgment, which would wipe the charge from his record, because he received deferred judgments for marijuana charges in 1973 and 2003.
Judge David Staudt agreed that state law bars deferred judgments for defendants who already have two under their belts, but he left the door open to reconsider the matter if Arnold's attorney isn't able to confirm the prior breaks.
Staudt sentenced Arnold to 10 years in prison, but suspended it to two to five years of probation Friday, and ordered he spend a year at the Department of Correctional Service's Residential Facility. He will remain in custody until a bed is available at the facility.
Authorities said Arnold took $12,000 worth of items from the Cedar Falls Historical Society, where he had been working as a janitor through a retiree employment program. He allegedly hid some of the loot at his daughter's Waterloo home, where it was recovered.
Arnold, 59, apologized for his actions Friday and said his thinking at the time was clouded. He said he can think clearer now because he has been in jail since his May arrest.
"I've been here a long time, and all you got to do here is think," Arnold said. "I had no idea I could hurt so many people. ... I have no idea what I was thinking."
Public Defender Tomas Rodriguez said Arnold was collecting the stolen artifacts and there was no evidence he intended to sell them.
Officials with the Cedar Falls Historical Society became suspicious of Arnold when an employee noticed him wrapping up World War I and II rifles April 23. Arnold said he was trying to keep moisture off them, but society officials suspected he was trying to hide the weapons, and he was fired.
An audit that followed discovered a number of items were missing, and investigators with the Cedar Falls Police Department recovered some at his daughter's home, where Arnold stored his collection in a basement room.
Among the artifacts taken from the society were a Remington revolver, a .22-caliber American Bull Dog revolver, an 8-shot .22-caliber Hinton revolver, four bayonets, a silver tea set and a model train engine.
When police searched Arnold's apartment on Lafayette Street, they also seized an AK-47 rifle, court records state.