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HELENA — A 39-year-old Helena man who helped steal more than $100,000 worth of tools has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Michael Fishburn appeared in District Court on Wednesday and received 10-year sentences with two years suspended on each of three counts of felony theft. Judge Dorothy McCarter called him a career criminal and said the lengthy term is needed to protect the community.

Court records say he stole more than 75 tools from construction sites in the Helena area and other parts of the state from October 2009 through April 2010. Police served Fishburn and his wife, 31-year-old April Fishburn, with warrants in June.

April Fishburn was given a six-year deferred sentence in November after striking a deal and pleading guilty to one count of felony theft.

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The Fishburns also were ordered to pay $34,000 in restitution.

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