Credit card thief pleads guilty to stealing grandma's check

Cary Ashby • Jan 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

A former Willard and Greenwich man convicted of stealing checks from a relative admitted Tuesday to also violating his probation.

Shelby resident Dustin L. Baker, 27, pleaded guilty to theft of checks and will be sentenced Feb. 5.

As part of a plea deal, Huron County Public Defender David Longo said the state agreed not to indict Baker on a theft charge which has been transferred from Norwalk Municipal Court. Also, prosecutors recommended the defendant serve four to six months in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

Baker's conviction is for an Aug. 22 incident when he was staying with his grandparents in Huron County. Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said the defendant stole two checks from his grandmother, one of which he attempted to cash for $100.

"She realized this (theft). She immediately called police," Kasper said.

"He (Baker) claimed he wanted to buy something for one of his children. Upon further questioning, he admitted he had problem with substance abuse," she added.

Also at Tuesday's hearing, Baker admitted to three offenses related to violating his probation. On Oct. 22, he tested positive for oxycodone and marijuana during a random drug screen and failed to report to jail after his work day at the request of his probation officer. Three days later, Baker changed his address without notifying his supervisor.

Baker has an earlier conviction for theft of a credit card. He was convicted of using a male victim's credit card to make $107 worth of purchases without authorization Jan. 20, 2013.

In early August, Baker was ordered to pay the remaining $60 in restitution. The court sentenced Baker to a discretionary 90-day jail sentence on the work release program.

Probation officer Jim Zappa said Baker was convicted of disorderly conduct when he lived in Greenwich with a relative. He also said the defendant tested positive for THC Oct. 15 and again before an Oct. 4 probation violation hearing.

"When he's not using (drugs), he's successful," Zappa told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway, who plans to follow the joint recommendation of sentencing Baker to a CBCF.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo praised Baker for being a "skilled mechanic" and a good welder who works hard.

"He likes to work; he's good at working. He just needs to get the monkey off his back," Longo said.

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