Monroeville woman gets 4-year prison term for 'serious property crime'

Cary Ashby • Apr 7, 2014 at 11:21 PM

The burglary victim's husband said his wife has "extreme anxiety."

The man also told the judge his wife must avoid extreme situations such as Wednesday's sentencing hearing because otherwise, she might have a heart attack and die. The woman has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Defendant Maria C. Stallard, 35, most recently of 2190 E. U.S. 20, Monroeville, pleaded guilty to three felonies Feb. 4. She was convicted of two counts of burglary and one charge of breaking and entering.

"I hope she gets put away for a long time for what she did to my wife," the husband said Wednesday.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway sentenced Stallard to four years in prison. He said he'd consider placing the defendant on transitional control for the last six months of her sentence. Transitional control means Stallard, who has been in jail for about 135 days, would be in a halfway house or a locked-down substance abuse treatment center. She will be on three years of parole.

Stallard's burglaries are for offenses on Nov. 2 and 14. The break-in happened Oct. 27. Stallard committed the crimes while she was on probation through Norwalk Municipal Court. As part of her plea deal Feb. 4, prosecutors dismissed the remaining charges on her indictment -- three counts of theft.

"They (the victims) were neighbors and in one case, a relative," said Conway, who noted that Stallard led a law-abiding life for about 30 years before she became involved in drugs.

Stallard must reimburse one female victim about $22,900 and another woman nearly $3,800. She spoke quietly when she apologized to the victims.

The victim's husband said Stallard stole his wife's diamond rings and necklaces after she had asked to use their bathroom. The victim's bedroom is near the bathroom.

"She took it all," the husband said.

Another victim told the judge she was robbed when she and her husband were running a errand.

She told Stallard she stole more than family heirlooms and jewelry -- "It's a peace of mind you stole from me." The victim, who broke down and cried slightly as she spoke, said she can't leave her house anymore "without fearing the worse."

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff told Conway that "anything less than a prison sentence" wouldn't be appropriate. He also said even though Stallard's accomplice, Eugene Large Jr., 44, of Norwalk, was the primary offender, "it doesn't excuse Maria for what she did."

Large, in mid-March, was sentenced to five years in prison. His convictions were for two counts of burglary and one charge of tampering with evidence. Woodruff has said Large wasn't involved in the two burglaries Stallard committed, but it's possible he was present during the break-ins.

"If she didn't get mixed up with the co-defendant she wouldn't be here," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said.

"It was a serious property crime," Longo said, adding the offenses are on "the upper end" of the scale.

Stallard stole a large amount of jewelry, a lawnmower, snowblower and some tools after breaking into a shed and attached garage. The female victim, one of the defendant's neighbors, said when she learned Stallard's mother also had been victimized, she realized Stallard would steal from anybody.

The Huron County Sheriff's Office recovered some of the stolen property when deputies found Stallard and Large at an Erie County hotel. Some of the items were from incidents in Richland County.

In late November, deputies used a search warrant on Hartland Center Road, where that resident had purchased many of the items, not knowing they were stolen. Officers recovered more than $35,000 worth of evidence.

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