Norwalk man ordered to repay $12,000 to grandpa

Zoe Greszler • Jul 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

A Norwalk man convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from his grandfather has been ordered to make restitution as part of his three years under community control.

In May, Seth E. Thornton, 20, of 39 Key Drive, pleaded guilty to one count each of burglary and an amended charge of attempted theft from the elderly. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a third charge in his indictment, safecracking, stemming from the March 14 incident. He also agreed to repay more than $12,000 to his grandfather.

Thornton, who stole more than $14,000 from his grandfather, faced a possible 24 to 36 months in prison and $5,000 fine.

Thornton got a key to his grandfather’s residence and when he found a cash box in a closet, he used a knife he found in the home to pry it open, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said. Thornton used some of the money to purchase vehicles.

Thornton, who has no adult criminal record, had a juvenile record “almost identical to this case,” Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

Defense attorney David Longo said Thornton’s misbehavior “may be due to illness. He is bipolar and has ADHD,” which he cannot “switch off.”

Longo said that his client had expressed to him and his mother that “he does regret what he’s done” and was “perfectly happy” to sign over the vehicles to his mother as the grandfather had wished.

The vehicles, which were being held in the police lot, are to be sold and any money obtained from the sale is to go toward restitution.

Thornton’s grandfather originally had requested a no-association order, but decided not to seek it. Longo said that “though he and his grandfather have had little to no communication, they are at peace.”

“I’m so sorry for what I did and realize what I did was wrong,” Thornton said.

Judge James Conway said the case originally had “been exaggerated due to the victim’s age being 82 years of age. It is less serious than was first made to seem. He did not cause any damage to a person or to any property.”

Conway added that the crime was still “very serious (because) $14,000 is a lot of money. And taking it from a grandfather is worse than taking it from a stranger.”

Thornton was sentenced to three years of community control, starting Tuesday and running through July 9, 2016. Thornton also will be required to serve 116 days in jail under intensive supervision. Thornton also is forbidden from leaving the state without permission from his probation officer and has to pay $250 in fees as well as the remaining $12,780 in restitution.

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