A rural Willard man was convicted Monday of stealing his father's rifle during a burglary.
David M. Bischoff, 25, formerly of 5015 Sherman Norwich Road, pleaded guilty Monday to one count each of burglary and theft of a firearm. He faces nine months to three years in prison on each third-degree felony when he is sentenced June 25 in Huron County Common Pleas Court.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count of breaking and entering in connection with a Feb. 3 incident. Bischoff agreed to pay $550 in restitution for some stolen coins and $350 to cover the price of hay in the break-in case.
Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said the state also agreed not to pursue an indictment on drug possession in connection with suspected narcotics found with Bischoff during his March 15 arrest.
Bischoff's father told the Huron County Sheriff's Office someone broke into his home and stole a .22-250 Remington rifle, a scope, ammunition and some loose change. Chief Deputy Ted Patrick has said the man found some tire tracks and footprints in the snow near his house that indicated Bischoff and his girlfriend likely were involved. The girlfriend wasn't named as a co-defendant in the case.
Kasper said the father immediately suspected Bischoff, his son, was involved in the burglary because the defendant has a drug problem and had been asking him for money.
Authorities put out a notice to be on the look-out for Bischoff's Chevrolet pickup truck.
Meanwhile, Bischoff's uncle created a ruse by telling the defendant he would loan him several hundred dollars, Kasper said.
Detectives set up surveillance near a Sherman Norwich Road, Willard, address after they had a tip that Bischoff would be going there. When he showed up, authorities confronted the defendant and sent a police dog around the truck, which alerted to the suspected presence of drugs.
"They searched the truck," Kasper said.
Deputies found the rifle, gun case, ammunition and the scope behind a seat in the truck. Authorities also recovered some syringes and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle and in the girlfriend's purse, deputies found a small amount of suspected heroin in a cellophane container which Bischoff reportedly admitted was his.
Bischoff has been unable to post 10 percent of a $30,000 bond. If he posts bail, he must stay off the premises of the victims' premises on Sherman Norwich Road, Willard, and Dogtown Road, Monroeville.