Pregnant woman released from jail

Cary Ashby • Aug 26, 2013 at 10:21 PM

A pregnant woman has been granted substance abuse treatment instead of a conviction on an allegation she helped steal some pickup trucks and a four-wheeler.

Sammie Jo Shaarda, 28, formerly of Willard, will be on three years of intensive probation for one count each of grand theft of a motor vehicle and theft. As part of a plea deal Monday, the state agreed to dismiss one charge of tampering with evidence.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway ordered Shaarda to be released from the Huron County Jail, but said she must undergo weekly, random drug screens until her child is born. The judge said he doesn't want her to "fall off the wagon" and endanger the life of the child she is carrying.

Shaarda, whose probation supervision will be transferred to Richland County, is due Oct. 21. She won't have a conviction on her record if she successfully completes court-ordered substance abuse treatment and counseling.

On Nov. 16, Shaarda and two accomplices went to a home outside of Plymouth and stole "a couple pickup trucks," a four-wheeler, a space heater and some chainsaws, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said. The items were in and around the victim's garage.

Kasper credited the Huron County Sheriff's Office with "doing a lot of good detective work" in tracking down the stolen items. She said deputies recovered a pickup truck, but not its tires.

"Some of the items were never recovered," Kasper said.

Prosecutor Russell Leffler told the judge in May it's believed Shaarda fled to Michigan with one of her suspected accomplices, Randy Ruff. The 40-year-old former Willard resident was indicted locally Friday on one count each of failure to appear, theft of a motor vehicle, theft and tampering with evidence.

Ruff and two male suspects were arrested without incident April 29 by the U.S. Border Patrol after reportedly attempting to remove tires from a stolen vehicle. Ruff was booked at Detroit's 2nd Precinct. He remains in custody at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in the Detroit area.

Deputies worked with the Border Patrol, U.S. Marshal's Service and Detroit Police Department in locating Ruff.

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