Norwalk jewel thief asks to be sent to prison

Cary Ashby • Sep 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

A Norwalk man was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday -- at his own request, having been rejected from a community-based corrections facility (CBCF).

"I need something to keep me in line," Kyle E. Smetzer Jr., 26, told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway.

"I need counseling -- mental health counseling, anger management," the former Milan resident said.

Smetzer told Conway he wants to prove he can succeed in the drug court program. However, Huron County Public Defender David Longo told him that being in the program "was out of the question." Conway later confirmed Smetzer wouldn't be a good candidate, but didn't say why.

CBCF officials earlier had turned down Smetzer. Defendants spend four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education

"We were looking into getting him into a CBCF. Because of a medical condition, they are unwilling to take him," Conway said in court Thursday.

The judge said he would give Smetzer two choices: Spend six months in prison or do the same amount of local jail time followed by substance abuse counseling while on probation. The defendant chose prison.

When asked what the state recommended, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff simply said the state earlier agreed to recommend community control sanctions "and we stand by that."

Smetzer, in early June, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property. He was on post-release control through Erie County when he committed the local offense.

The defendant must pay the break-in victim -- someone who knew him since he was a child -- $1,000 in restitution.

The victim's residence was broken into Dec. 26 and again Jan. 2. Stolen from the man's duplex were some heirloom jewelry, electronic items, a TV, an electric guitar and some shotguns.

"I've known Kyle for 20 years. I've known him since he was young," the victim said in court earlier.

There was a large hole in the wall between the victim's side of the duplex and his neighbor's residence. The man said it was big enough for him to crawl through.

Smetzer sold the jewelry at the Norwalk antique mall. One stolen piece of jewelry was a ring belonging to the victim's grandmother. The Norwalk Police Department later recovered the items.

Police found the stolen guitar in a Dumpster at a Grand Avenue apartment complex. The victim has said someone tried to pawn it at the Cashland north of Norwalk.

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