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'Spa bandit' told to stay clean, stay out of jail
Judge gives suspended sentence to spa patron who skipped out on paying
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Marshall G. Wolbers


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Published: 10/26/2007 12:14 AM

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A man known by some as the Beauty Shop Bandit for receiving massages, manicures and other spa treatments at salons and then skipping out on the bill was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty Thursday.

But he will not have to serve the time if he remains squeaky clean for the next year and half.

Marshall G. Wolbers, 53, of Delevan, Wis., admitted guilt to three charges of theft of services stemming from cases of beautify-and-bolt in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills.

"I want to get my life back on track and I'll do whatever it takes to do that, and do it with seriousness and purpose," Wolbers said after pleading guilty.

Along with the suspended jail sentence, Judge Charles Weech assigned Wolbers to 18 months of conditional discharge and 75 hours of public service, levied a $250 fine and ordered him to make a $150 donation to Crimestoppers.

Authorities arrested Wolbers in February after a multi-jurisdictional investigation into a series of spa service thefts at salons in McHenry and Lake counties.

Wolbers, police said, used an alias to book spa treatments at salons in both counties. After receiving the services, he told staffers he had to step outside momentarily to make a phone call. Once out the door, he did not return.

In the three McHenry County cases, Wolbers received, but never paid for, a haircut and dye at a Lake in the Hills salon, a Swedish massage and sea salt body polish at an Algonquin spa and a facial, body scrub and manicure at another Algonquin business.

County prosecutors Thursday asked Weech to send Wolbers to jail for the offenses, saying he had been living the high life on someone else's dime.

"He was living the style of a rich man, receiving these services without ever intending to pay for them," Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Jeff Bora said. "At this point it would be appropriate for Mr. Wolbers to experience a lesser side of society."

Wolbers' attorney, however, said his client has learned from mistakes and is ready to pay the salon owners $360 for their services.

"I don't see how Mr. Wolbers sitting in jail is going to be productive or helpful to anyone in this case," defense lawyer Adrian Gosch said.

Weech agreed but warned Wolbers that one slip-up could land him in jail.

"I'm hoping that in conversations with your doctor you can get to the bottom of this," Weech said.

Wolbers last month pleaded guilty to similar charges stemming from salon service thefts in Lake County. He also received a suspended jail sentence in that case, along with 100 hours of public service and 60 days of home monitoring.