Heroin blamed on Norwalk burglaries

Cary Ashby • Feb 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

A Norwalk man pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felonies for a local burglary and the separate theft of a pistol.

Cory B. Smith, 24, of 40B Corwin St., will be sentenced April 3 on one count each of burglary and theft of a firearm.

Smith faces two to eight years in prison for the Dec. 2 burglary on Erie Street. He also could be sentenced to nine months to three years for the theft of a firearm for a Nov. 27 incident on West Chestnut Street.

The Norwalk Police Department investigated both cases.

"In these cases, the Norwalk Police Department was investigating a number of burglaries in the city of Norwalk," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said.

When the Erie Street victim came home, the person found their home ransacked. Kasper said Smith later gave police a written statement in which he admitted to helping steal a TV, some jewelry, guitars and other items.

The West Chestnut Street victim reported the theft of a 9 mm pistol, a TV and laptop computer. Kasper said Smith stole the gun from under the mattress and the culprits had ransacked the person's residence.

Police took photos of the crime scene. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification examined some fingerprints, which authorities matched to Smith, who was arrested in early December.

Kasper said police used information from Smith, which led to officers using a search warrant at 14 E. Harkness St. An investigator has called the residence "a heroin house."

"He has been on heroin for some time. That was the reason for the burglaries," Kasper told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway.

Officers recovered some of the jewelry and TVs at the East Harkness Street residence.

"But they were not able to recover the pistol," Kasper said.

In a plea deal Tuesday, the state agreed to dismiss two counts of burglary, three theft charges and one count of safecracking. A Huron County grand jury had indicted Smith on a total of eight felonies in connection with incidents on Nov. 22 and 26 plus Dec. 2 and 7.

Smith earlier posted a $30,000 bond.

Also arrested during the burglary investigation was Norwalk resident Mark A. Noller Jr., 37. He is scheduled to go to trial March 26 on one count each of burglary and receiving stolen property in connection with a Dec. 2 incident.

Noller is accused of stealing some TVs, an iPad, watches and some jewelry when he "hit a couple places in Norwalk" with Smith, prosecutors said.

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