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Burglary suspect pleads, apologizes

One of a quartet of burglars arrested in connection with daytime break-ins at Pedro and Kitts Hill area homes this summer pleaded guilty to the charges against her Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

A man accused of stealing a television from an Ironton business in August pleaded guilty as well.

Ranae Schwab, 26, of 1021 S. Sixth St., Ironton, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and two counts of complicity to burglary in a four-day spree that began July 16. Judge Charles Cooper sentenced her to a total of 10 years in prison. Cases are pending against her three alleged cohorts, William R. Sexton, 26, of 204 1⁄2 Mastin Ave., Ironton, Sara M. Branham, 23, of Raceland, Ky., and Shon Williams, 24, of 1208 S. Second St., Ironton.

Schwab’s attorney, Warren Morford, said Schwab decided to plead guilty and take the 10-year term rather than stand trial and face the possibility of an even longer prison stay.

He said she has three small children and wants to get the matter put behind her.

“Crazy, dumb stuff occurred here,” Morford said. “She wants to pay her debt to society and get back out on the streets.”

Asked if she had anything to say, Schwab apologized to her victims.

Morford asked for a brief furlough to allow Schwab to spend time with her children before being separated from them for 10 years — a request Collier noted was not without problem:

“I have been notified by a family member if she gets furlough she will run,” Collier said. He requested a $50,000 own recognizance bond plus electronic home monitoring for any furlough, a request Cooper accepted in granting the furlough.

Schwab and her codefendants are accused of breaking into homes in the Pedro and Kitts Hill areas. The four reportedly told police they would first knock to see if anyone was home before breaking in and stealing items.

They reportedly told police if someone answered they would pretend they were looking for someone else.

Meanwhile, Michael Smith, 52, of 999 Coal Bank Hollow, pleaded guilty to one count of breaking and entering.

Judge D. Scott Bowling sentenced Smith to 12 months in prison but said Smith could be eligible for judicial release after 8 months with good behavior. Smith would have to serve four years probation upon his release.

Bowling further ordered Smith to pay $1,600 restitution to his victim, Iron City Hardware, whose display window he broke while stealing a large flat-screen television set.

Of the $1,600 restitution, $1,000 will pay for the window replacement, $500 for the television and $100 for other items damaged in the incident.

“I’d like to apologize for what happened,” Smith said, adding the incident had been embarrassing for him.