A Norwalk man who pleaded guilty Monday to stealing a vehicle and breaking into a beverage center blamed the crimes on a drug relapse.
"I relapsed. I was nine months sober," defendant Corey T. Foster said at Monday's hearing.
Foster, 27, of 994 E. Ohio 61, pleaded guilty to stealing a vehicle July 16 and a break-in at the Norwalk Beverage Center on St. Mary's Street that same night. He was convicted of one count each of breaking and entering and grand theft of a motor vehicle.
As part of a plea deal, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff agreed to dismiss another break-in felony and a misdemeanor count of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer. Woodruff also said the state wouldn't be prosecuting Foster in connection with two business break-ins that happened about the same time.
"This will take care of multiple charges," defense attorney T. Douglas Clifford said about the plea deal.
Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway imposed an 11-month sentence on each felony, ordered them to be run consecutively and ordered Foster to pay up to $2,500 in restitution. At the same hearing, Foster was sentenced to 22 months in prison -- part of a joint recommendation.
Woodruff said the beverage center break-in was the strongest case of the three break-ins.
The other incidents, which also happened July 16, took place at a Norwalk convenience store/gas station and a restaurant.
There was a broken door and window at the beverage center. Also, $2,500 worth of cash and unactivated lottery tickets were missing.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) analyzed the defendant's shoes and compared them to footprint impressions found at the scene. Woodruff said Foster entered the business by breaking a walk-in glass door and BCI agents determined the glass from the door matched the glass found embedded in Foster's shoes.
Prosecutors are confident there was a co-defendant involved in the break-ins, but nobody else has been charged. Woodruff said surveillance footage clearly shows two people were at the scene of the break-ins.
"We know there is one more person. ... If Mr. Foster is willing to talk to us, we're willing to listen to him," Woodruff said.
The vehicle was stolen from Ripley Township residents July 16.
"It was called in right away. The homeowners happened to hear them," said Woodruff, who complimented the Huron County Sheriff's Office on apprehending Foster and his co-defendant quickly afterward.
"They were on their way to Willard to buy heroin and got tired of walking," he said.