News Column

Man convicted of family heirloom theft pleads guilty to misusing mom's debit card

February 15, 2014

By Cary Ashby, Norwalk Reflector, Ohio



Feb. 15--A former Norwalk man who stole several family heirlooms from his grand mother was convicted of a separate family-related felony Friday.

Gerald B. Chandler, 30, of Bucyrus, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property. The defendant, who must pay almost $3,037 in restitution to the victim, waived his right to have the fifth-degree felony presented to a grand jury and entered his plea on a court document known as a bill of information.

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said the case involves unauthorized charges on Chandler's mother's bank debit card between Dec. 17 and Jan. 7.

"The dates on the card coincide with the dates Mr. Chandler moved in with his mother," Kasper added.

Chandler's mother called the Norwalk Police Department about the unauthorized charges.

"She confronted him about it and told him to move out," Kasper said.

During the investigation, police obtained surveillance footage from the Norwalk Walmart and a Milan Avenue grocery store. Kasper said the victim saw the footage and identified the suspect as Chandler.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway ordered Chandler to spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility for the new felony and a probation violation. A CBCF is a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. Chandler will remain on three years of intensive probation and will be supervised at a high level.

"I think this is a good resolution to this case," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said.

Longo said his client told him he wanted to plead guilty to the bill of information and he couldn't renew his family's trust unless "he makes a good effort." Chandler declined to speak on his own behalf Friday.

Chandler's probation violations were for being charged with receiving stolen property through Norwalk Municipal Court and testing positive at the Huron County Jail for cocaine, opiates, THC and two more drugs.

In early April, the defendant was sentenced to 120 days in jail for a theft-fromthe-elderly conviction. Credited with being in custody for 71 days, he was ordered to pay $532 in restitution.

Chandler's probation officer, Andrea Cooke, told the judge that some time after his sentencing hearing, Chandler missed an office visit and told her he was struggling with his sobriety.

In the original case, Chandler and his one-time girlfriend were living with his then-80-year-old grandmother in Monroeville at the end of December 2012. The grandmother came home New Year's Eve and realized someone stole several pieces of jewelry, including some rings belonging to Chandler's mother, and some coins after she carefully inspected her house. The codefendants later sold the stolen items to businesses in Willard, Mansfield and Toledo.

Chandler's accomplice, Rachel A. Bouldin, 22, of Woodville, has a conviction pending on receiving stolen property, but it could be imposed if she violates the terms of the drug intervention program.

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(c)2014 the Norwalk Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)

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Source: Norwalk Reflector (OH)


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