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Separate hydrocodone defendants are convicted

Cary Ashby • Sep 6, 2013 at 5:07 PM

A Norwalk woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to dealing drugs while a Bellevue man was convicted of a separate burglary involving the theft of hydrocodone pills.

Carol J. Ashcroft, 55, of 520 Milan Ave., Lot 68, will be sentenced Oct. 17 for an amended charge of trafficking in hydrocodone. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed the school specification and lowered the original fourth-degree felony to a fifth-degree felony.

Ashcroft faces six to 18 months behind bars for the Feb. 15, 2012 incident. She earlier posted 10 percent of a $5,000 bond.

In a separate hearing Tuesday, Travis C. Hartley, 32, of 408 Brinker St., Apt., 3, Bellevue, pleaded guilty to burglary in exchange for the dismissal of one count of attempted theft of drugs.

The Bellevue Police Department investigated the June 12 burglary.

"He was stealing drugs from his aunt's husband," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said about Hartley. "I think he was stealing the drugs to support his addiction ... hydrocodone I believe."

Leffler credited Hartley's aunt with helping solve the crime.

The woman realized some of the pills were missing and determined there was about a three-hour window when the suspect would have been sneaking into her house, the prosecutor said. Leffler also said the aunt hid inside the house and then caught Hartley stealing the drugs, but she didn't let her nephew know she saw him.

"She notified police and they caught up with him," Leffler said. "We figure if you go to that much trouble, (Hartley) should plead guilty to a third-degree felony burglary."

Hartley, who earlier posted 10 percent of a $10,000 bond, is prohibited from being on his aunt's Sheffield Street premises. When the case originally went through Bellevue Municipal Court, his bond was set at $30,000.

At Tuesday's hearing, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway ruled Hartley would be subject to random drug screens before he is sentenced.

"He didn't have that before, but we should have (ordered it)," Leffler said.

Hartley faces nine months to three years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 17.

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