South Point man sentenced for six area break-ins

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

A South Point man who was arrested for a strong of area business break-ins will spend time behind bars thinking about his behavior.

Bret A. Dement, 18, of 1007 Township Road 161,

pleaded guilty Wednesday to six counts of breaking and entering and one count of complicity to grand theft of a firearm.

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He was accused of breaking into several area businesses and little league concession stands in April and May.

The list of victims includes the Coal Grove Little League, South Point Little League, Cold Spot carryout in Coal grove and Trackside Pizza in South Point.

Demet was sentenced to a total of 12 months in prison but was given credit for time served in jail awaiting resolution of his case. Dement must also make restitution to his victims in an amount to be determined later on.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper denied Dement’s request for a brief furlough to visit with family before being sent to prison.

“The court has a problem with that. Once you get out a small percentage have a problem reporting when they should,” Cooper said.

Two cohorts in the string of crimes, David Arbaugh, 19, of 271 County Road 1, Lot 25, South Point, and a juvenile, have already pleaded guilty to their part in the crimes.

Also Wednesday, Ronald Witherel, 30, of 644 Township Road 212N, Willow Wood, pleaded guilty on a bill of information to one count of domestic violence. Cooper sentenced him to four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation. He must also successfully complete the STAR Criminal Justice Center program. Cooper also ordered Witherel to stay away from his victim and her family.

In another case, Richard Webb, 34, of Ashland, Ky., pleaded guilty to one count each of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and driving under license suspension.

Cooper sentenced Webb to as total of six months in jail but suspended four months of the sentence. Cooper also placed Webb on two years probation and ordered him to surrender his driver’s license for 3 years. Webb was also fined a total of $1,500.

Ranae Schwab, 24, of 1414 S. Second St., Ironton, admitted Wednesday she violated the terms of her probation.

Judge Richard Walton sentenced Schwab to six months in prison but gave her credit for time served in the Lawrence County Jail awaiting resolution of her case.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said Schwab was given probation after she pleaded guilty to complicity to theft, receiving stolen property and forgery.

But she has since failed to report to her probation officer as ordered, failed to complete the required community service and has not paid any fines or restitution.

Brian Ferguson, 22, of Westwood, Ky., was sentenced to four years in prison for his guilty plea to a burglary charge.

However, Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith said the prosecutor’s office will not oppose judicial release after two years so long as Ferguson is placed on community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation after he is released from prison.

If he can get into a community-based correctional facility, he may be eligible for judicial release after 15 months.

Ferguson must also make $17,000 restitution jointly or severally with his cohorts.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” Ferguson said.

Also Wednesday, Jay C. Hutchinson, 27, of 142 Coal Bank Hollow, Ironton, was sentenced to four years in prison on a burglary conviction.

Cooper likewise agreed Hutchinson could be eligible for judicial release after two years if he presents no problems while he is in prison, though he could be released sooner if he is admitted to a CBCF.