JUST IN - Willard burglar gets 3 years in prison

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:11 PM

A Willard man was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday for his part in holding an Austin Drive couple at gunpoint.

Ryan M. Forte, 21, of 410 E. Walton St., Lot 23, also was fined $500 for the Oct. 3 armed robbery. He pleaded guilty Feb. 15 to an amended charge of burglary in exchange for two counts of aggravated burglary being dismissed.

Co-defendant Jason E. Maye, 24, formerly of 818 Main St., Apt. 3A, started serving a four-year prison term at the Richland Correctional Institution in early February. He was convicted of unrelated charges of burglary and trafficking in heroin. The second charge was from an Aug. 27 incident.

A third accomplice, Byron A. Lovo, 20, of 116 Second St., faces a May 6 trial on one count of aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated burglary. He was released from the Huron County Jail on Oct. 12 after posting a $40,000 bond.

"They had them at gunpoint," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said. "They actually held it at their head."

The trio stole $630 in cash, $500 in change, two PlayStation video game systems and their controllers, Woodruff said. The victims requested no restitution in the case.

Woodruff was asked if the offense was drug-related since the victims have faced drug charges earlier.

"Of course it was," the prosecutor said. "They recovered almost all the cash and the PlayStation system, too."

Huron County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Dane Howard, in October, said deputies also recovered the "big CO2 pistol" used in the crime.

Several hours after the incident, deputies used a search warrant on East Walton Street to seize a stolen digital camera and some of the money. Sgt. Annette McLaughlin said earlier the men used bandanas to cover their faces and removed the victims' telephone, so the woman reported the robbery at the Willard police station.

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