Reno Mahe theft case nears close with anticipated guilty plea

Published: Monday, July 23 2012 3:46 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The theft case against former BYU football standout and NFL football player Reno Mahe has reached a possible resolution.

Mahe, 32, was expected to enter a plea in abeyance to a reduced theft charge in 3rd District Court Monday, but the hearing was continued at the request of one of the attorneys on the case.

"We do anticipate this will be resolved," defense attorney Rudy Bautista said.

Bautista said it is anticipated that Mahe will plead guilty to theft, a third-degree felony, with the understanding that the plea will be held in abeyance until Mahe goes a certain amount of time without any criminal violations. If he does that successfully, the charge will be dismissed.

Mahe will also pay $2,900 for gasoline that was allegedly taken.

"He always agreed to pay back the money," Bautista said of his client. "He always thought this was a gift."

Mahe and three other men have been accused of stealing more than $6,000 in gasoline from A-Core Concrete Cutting between August and October of 2010.

Mark Evers, 32, was working for the construction company at the time and testified that he began stealing gas from the company in 2006 using a code he created for the company that maintained fuel pumps.

Evers' alleged theft was discovered in October 2010, leading to a review of surveillance tapes dating back to August 2010 that helped police identify Mahe, Tevita Ofahengaue, 38, Michael Andrus, 36, and Fred Prescott, 36.

Evers testified that he told Mahe, a high school friend, that he received free gas as part of his employment package and offered to share with Mahe. All of the defendants have stated that Evers told them the gas was free, but Evers said he made them aware that it wasn't.

Prescott entered a guilty plea in abeyance to one count of theft, a class B misdemeanor, before Judge Denise Lindberg Monday. Originally charged with a third-degree felony, Prescott will be required to perform 40 hours community service, pay a $500 fee and $612 in restitution. If he completes those requirements and has no violations in the course of a year, the charge will be dismissed.

Ofahengaue received a similar plea deal earlier this month as he entered a guilty plea in abeyance to a third-degree felony charge, reduced from the original second-degree felony charge, and was ordered to pay a $850 in fees and $1,590 in restitution.

Evers was charged with first-degree felony theft, but pleaded guilty months ago to theft, a third-degree felony. He was sentenced to zero to five years in prison, but the prison time was suspended. He was ordered to spend 36 months on probation, pay $55,603 in restitution and complete 75 hours of community service in the next six months.

Andrus and Mahe's cases are both expected to be resolved Aug. 6.

Mahe said Monday that he was ready to see the case wrapped up and said he "always knew it would work out." The experience has been humbling for him.

"It's been a good life learning experience," he said. "People have been very supportive. I've had a lot of people tell me, 'We know who you really are.'"

He said the most difficult thing for him has been the impact the court case has had on his ability to work with community groups and having to miss out on those opportunities. As a father of six, he also worried about the impact on his family. 

He has found that has been unwarranted.

"It's made our family a lot tighter, brought us a lot closer," he said.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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