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Zimmerman gets jail time for break-ins

By CHRISTINE L. PRATT Staff Writer Published: June 17, 2017 5:00 AM

MILLERSBURG -- In a sentence that mirrors that of his codefendants, a Jeromesville man on Tuesday, June 6, was ordered to serve to six months in jail for the role he played in a spate of local break-ins that spanned several weeks in August and September.

Lance Zimmerman, 18, of 242 Township Road 1990, Jeromesville, previously pleaded guilty in Holmes County Common Pleas Court to six counts of breaking and entering, five counts of petty theft and one count of petty theft.

While restitution of $1,314 already has been paid by Zimmerman's codefendants, Judge Robert Rinfret ordered Zimmerman to share in that obligation.

Of the incident, Rinfret said, "This was really stupid."

Zimmerman, asked why he committed the crimes simply said, "I wasn't thinking."

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Rinfret said he would consider early release onto electronically monitored house arrest if Zimmerman maintains employment and once all his financial obligations, to include court costs and the fees and expenses of his court-appointed attorney are paid.

Zimmerman will also serve three years of probation, but was warned that a violation could trigger the imposition of an 11-month prison term.

The charges all stem from incidents occurring between Aug. 29 and Sept. 14. That's when the group broke into seven different businesses in eastern Holmes County.

"In all the instances, they took cash up to $150 or goods of about the same value," said Holmes County Prosecutor Sean Warner, noting, in most cases they would visit the businesses during the day, during which times they would identify items of value and possible points of entry, on occasion unlocking windows to ensure later success.

Members of the group started to become identified after a parent intercepted some text messages between those involved, said Chief Deputy Richard Haun, of the Holmes County Sheriff's Office, noting the parent made investigators aware of the suspects, who they began tracking.

All but Keim fled the state after being identified as suspects, but returned after a short time and turned themselves into the sheriff's office, and then cooperated with the investigation.

Previously, Joseph J. Wengerd, 19, whose last known address was 23601 State Route 93, Fresno, pleaded guilty to seven counts of breaking and entering, six counts of petty theft and one count of attempted petty theft. And, Christopher M. Keim, 24, of 2143 Steiner Road SW, New Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to five counts of breaking and entering and five counts of petty theft.

Both also were sentenced to six months in the Holmes County Jail, but were granted early release by Rinfret.

Two juveniles have been charged in Holmes County Juvenile Court.

Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or cpratt@the-daily-record.com.


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