An Apple Valley man has been sentenced for inhaling Freon from five air conditioning units near his home.

Brent E. Krueger, 37, had pleaded guilty to felony theft in Dakota County District Court.

Judge Michael Sovis sentenced Krueger to pay $1,521 to his neighbors for the Freon he stole and serve 10 days of community service, said spokeswoman Monica Jensen of the Dakota County attorney's office.

She said Krueger will be on probation for as long as five years, depending on how soon he meets other sentence conditions, which include random urinalysis tests and continuing chemical dependency treatment.

He must also have a cognitive skills evaluation.

Jensen said it's the first Freon "huffing" case charged in the county. While it's not illegal to inhale Freon, authorities said, stealing it is.

According to charges filed in September, Krueger was seen by neighbors and police over the course of two nights inhaling Freon from air conditioning units. In the second instance, he had become disoriented, the complaint said, and walked into a neighbor's house when he thought police were coming.

In addition, police said, Krueger was found to have been "huffing" at least five other instances, police said. Ambulances were called at least twice, the court papers said.

Freon is often used as a refrigerant and propellant in aerosol products. Inhaling, or "huffing," the gas can lead to short- and long-term brain damage, including memory problems, physicians say.