Truck & ATV thief skips arraignment, gets sent to prison

Cary Ashby • Jan 11, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Former Willard resident Randy Ruff skipped his arraignment and went straight to being sentenced Wednesday.

Ruff, 41, pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle and failure to appear.

"The balance of the charges will be dismissed," said Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler, referring to one count each of theft and tampering with evidence.

Ruff was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison. That term will run at the same time he serves a one- to -five year term in Michigan for grand larceny of a motor vehicle.

"This will guarantee he will serve at least two years," Leffler said.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Ruff his right to an appeal is "very limited because you're agreeing to the charges and sentence." The plea deal and sentence were a joint recommendation between Leffler and Ruff's attorney, Huron County Public Defender David Longo.

At the beginning of Wednesday's hearing, Longo said Ruff waived his right to an arraignment and the related formalities.

"Mr. Ruff is anxious to get the issue resolved here and now," Longo told the judge.

A Huron County grand jury indicted Ruff on Aug. 23.

Ruff's conviction is for a Nov. 16, 2012 incident investigated by the Huron County Sheriff's Office. Leffler said Ruff and his accomplices, Willard residents Ronald D. Ruff, 35, and Sammie J. Shaarda, 28, stole a pickup truck, some all-terrain vehicles, tires and chainsaw.

"I never touched the four-wheelers; I just drove the truck," Ronald Ruff said during his September sentencing hearing.

Ruff is serving 17 months in prison for grand theft of a motor vehicle. Once he is released, he could be on as much as three years of parole.

Before the local case, Ruff finished serving 17 years in prison for an armed robbery in Detroit. He was 17 years old when he was convicted.

In late August, Shaarda was granted intervention in lieu of conviction. That means she won't have a conviction for grand theft and theft if she successfully completes substance abuse treatment.

Investigators later matched Randy Ruff's DNA with items found in the truck.

"The defendant was charged and failed to appear for a preliminary hearing in (Norwalk) Municipal Court, having left the state," Leffler said Wednesday.

Ruff and two male suspects were arrested without incident April 29 by the U.S. Border Patrol after attempting to remove tires from a stolen vehicle. Ruff originally was booked at Detroit's 2nd Precinct.

"This was a pretty serious series of crimes," Leffler said. "Richland County was involved in this (investigation). Someone eventually ratted (Ruff) out. We got a bit lucky on the DNA in the truck."

Ruff and his accomplices must pay $7,450 in restitution to the male victim from Shelby. There was another victim -- a rural Plymouth woman -- who had the tires from her son's truck recovered.

In Erie County, Ruff has a pending charge of grand theft.

Recommended for You