A convicted thief could pay as much as $4,604 in restitution as part of his three years of probation.
"I went through a very hard time and I made a poor decision. ... It cost (me) friendships and family," defendant Phillip D. Vinson said Wednesday.
Having been kicked out of a job, Vinson said he has been interviewing for various jobs and now is involved in church. He has a fish-packing job in Port Clinton which starts soon, thanks to his pastor, the assistant manager.
Vinson, in late January, pleaded guilty to theft. The Sept. 25 incident involved three victims: Walmart and two male subjects.
The defendant's pastor started weekly counseling with Vinson in October and November. The pastor said Vinson expressed his remorse about the crime, has gone to church at least once a week and never missed one of their weekly meetings about a "personal mentorship" -- although the pastor admitted he had to a miss a couple appointments because of his schedule.
"He's made connections in the church. He's made friendships in the church," the pastor said.
Vinson has no prior felony convictions.
"I think you're making genuine efforts ... but you'll be kept on a tight rope," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway warned the defendant.
The judge imposed a 90-day jail sentence on the work release program. However, Conway said Vinson's probation officer could establish the term at his or her discretion and the officer could request for it to be reduced or "have it alleviated." The judge also said the $4,604 in restitution could be lower depending on the value of the unspecified evidence that police are still holding.
If Vinson violates the terms of his probation, he faces one year in prison.