Jewelry thief punished, ordered to pay $11,000 in restitution

Cary Ashby • Sep 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

The shackled and handcuffed jewelry thief turned from the podium and looked at his relatives, asking for some sense of reconciliation.

"I want to let you guys know I'm sorry," defendant Cody M. Bruner said with a pleading expression.

"I want the opportunity to make it right. I know it will take some time," the 23-year-old Shelby resident said.

In mid-July, Bruner pleaded guilty to theft from the elderly. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count each of grand theft and theft.

On March 4 and April 1, Bruner stole several items -- amounting to more than $7,500 -- from a person who was older than 65. More than $1,500 of the items were jewelry.

At an Aug. 29 hearing, he was ordered to pay $10,236 in restitution to one set of victims and $1,000 to two more. Some of the victims are Bruner's relatives.

Bruner's aunt spoke to the court and her nephew before he was sentenced. She said the family offered Bruner help many times for his drug addiction and she'd be willing to help him "work it out," but he ultimately betrayed the trust of his grandmother.

"I want him to know how much he hurt everyone with all this," she said. "There are things your grandmother lost that belonged to your grandfather."

About the stolen items, the aunt said the family won't be able to replace them. She stressed to Bruner that the hurt he has inflicted on the family is about the sentimental value of the stolen items, not their monetary worth.

Some of the stolen property was recovered.

"You proclaimed how much you missed your uncle and turned around and do this. ... You wanted him to be proud of you. This is no way to make him proud of you," Bruner's aunt told him.

The defendant's aunt also said she wants to see her nephew get some treatment, but also be punished.

"He needs to suffer all (the) consequences for his actions," she told the judge.

Bruner's attorney, Huron County Public Defender David Longo, seemed at a lost for what punishment to recommend. Longo said he believes his client is "genuinely sorry" and while he understands Bruner's family wants to see punishment and some rehabilitation, he didn't know what the "correct solution" should be.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced Bruner to 180 days in the Huron County Jail -- the maximum local time for the offense. With credit for time already served, he has fewer than 60 days remaining.

Conway said the court received "significant feedback" from the victims and Bruner's family. The judge also ruled the crime had a large psychological impact.

Bruner must obtain his GED and undergo random drug screens as part of his three years of intense probation. He is prohibited from having any association with his aunt or being on her property.

If he violates his probation, he faces three years in prison.

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