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Willard burglary suspected of being drug-related crime

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:19 PM

A Willard man must post a $30,000 bond before being released from custody in connection with breaking into a relative’s home.

Steven M. Smith, 34, of 3571 Austin Drive, is accused of stealing some power tools, one rifle and one long gun from a Willard home, Huron County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Dane Howard said. Smith was charged with burglary and theft of firearms after Howard interviewed him Tuesday in connection with Sunday’s incident.

“He actually lives in a camper in the rear of the (victim’s) property,” Howard said. “This crime was definitely drug-related.”

Smith is accused of using the money he got from selling the weapons to buy heroin, the detective explained. Norwalk Assistant Law Director T. Douglas Clifford confirmed the allegation, adding that Smith is accused of selling the rifle, a muzzle loader, to a person in Willard for $40.

Authorities recovered the same weapon Tuesday after getting a tip from a Willard police detective.

“Sgt. (Annette) McLaughlin is out making every effort to find the other weapon,” Howard said.

The missing long gun, a Winchester 1300, is estimated to be worth as much as $300.

“I did not find it (Wednesday). I was very disappointed,” McLaughlin said.

During Smith’s Norwalk Municipal Court bond hearing Wednesday, Judge John Ridge prohibited the suspect from being on the victim’s property or possessing a firearm if he posts bond.

If convicted of burglary, Smith faces two to eight years in prison and a $15,000 maximum fine. He could spend one to five years behind bars on the theft of firearms charge.

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