Theft from elderly suspects arraigned

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:14 PM

A rural Norwalk couple pleaded innocent Tuesday to stealing between $50,000 and $60,000 from an elderly couple to support their heroin habit.

James E. Miller, 41, and his girlfriend Roberta D. Bisel, 31, both of 4303 Ohio 6O1, each were arraigned in Huron County Common Pleas Court on theft from the elderly. Miller's trial is scheduled for June 24 and his co-defendant goes to court exactly one week later.

Huron County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Dane Howard has said the defendants are accused of stealing from the couple, to whom Miller is related, starting about November and using $40,000 to buy heroin from local dealers in a five-month period. The husband is in his early 70s and his wife is in her mid-60s.

One of the couple's relatives reported the suspected thefts and brought the victims to the sheriff's office for an interview April 8. Deputies interviewed Miller and Bisel the next day.

Capt. Ted Patrick said the victims had financial statements and other documents, which revealed "large balances" were being charged to four different credit and debit cards.

"They maxed out these credit cards," Patrick said about Miller and Bisel. "Then a personal loan was taken out in excess of $12,500."

Miller and Bisel have been unable post a $30,000 bond at the Huron County Jail since being arrested April 9 at the sheriff's office. If convicted, the suspects each face two to eight years in prison and a $15,000 maximum fine.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway has ordered both defendants to undergo random drug testing.

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