A Willard man who stole jewelry from an elderly woman whose driveway he shoveled during the winter was sentenced to 17 months in prison Thursday.
Tyler C. Branham, 25, received one month short of the maximum for theft from the elderly, a fourth-degree felony. He must reimburse the Cashland in Willard $930 and pay $1,870 to the female victim whom he knew from her church.
"She did trust me a lot," said Branham, who spent 151 days in the Huron County Jail and wants to be veterinarian.
He told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway he wanted and needed the "extra push" that comes with being supervised on probation.
"She knew him through her church. ... He took advantage of his relationship with her," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper said.
Kasper requested Branham serve a prison term, but said the state didn't oppose an early release if he has made progress behind bars.
"I truly am sorry for what I did," Branham told the judge. "I have no one else to blame but me."
Conway said he didn't think Branham's remorse was sincere. The judge said he found it disturbing Branham stole jewelry worth thousands of dollars over a time period and continued to do so after having time to reflect on his crimes.
"You keep doing the same things over and over again," Conway told him.
Huron County Sheriff's Deputy Shannon Lyons investigated the case. On Jan. 28, an 89-year-old Willard woman reported the theft of several pieces of jewelry, which included a ring worth more than $600 and a bracelet with a retail value of $11,000.
Lyons interviewed Branham at his home and later at the sheriff's office. He initially said "he found the jewelry in the vacant apartment he was cleaning," but then admitted he stole it from the victim when he asked to use her bathroom while shoveling her driveway, according to Lyons' report.