OV Mall shoplifter sentenced
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A second co-defendant in a shoplifting ring that targeted the Ohio Valley Mall will serve jail time, Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato ruled this week.
Lawanda Sade Hubbard, 25, of 1698 Liberty St., Akron, was given three years of community control sanctions. She will serve six months in jail and six months at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center, with credit for 34 days. A violation would result in one year in the penitentiary.
The prosecution requested incarceration, while Hubbard’s defense asked for an option other than jail time.
Fregiato pointed out her lengthy prior charges and convictions, including multiple cases of theft and theft-related crimes, adding that jail time was the only option, considering what amounts to a lifetime of criminal activity.
“We do not have shoplifting rings in Belmont County without extreme consequences,” Fregiato said. “What we have here is a professional shoplifter. There’s no question about it in my mind.”
Hubbard’s co-defendant, Essence T. Austin, 22, of 1240 Seward Ave., Akron, Ohio, was given an identical sentence.
On Feb. 13, Boscov’s loss-prevention officers identified suspicious activity and observed Hubbard and Austin stealing items from Victoria’s Secret. They were using duct tape and aluminum foil bags to block the signals of the security tags. These constructed bags were placed inside of regular shopping bags.
Law enforcement also found stolen merchandise from Hibbett Sports and Children’s Palace in the defendants’ possession. More than $1,000 worth of merchandise was stolen.
In other cases:
∫ David Joseph Allen of 1525 Round Bottom Hill, Moundsville, W.Va., was sentenced to the maximum of eight years for possession of drugs, a felony of the second degree occurring Aug. 19. Fregiato pointed out Allen’s lengthy prior record, including drug offenses, endangering children, domestic assault and brandishing a weapon. Intensive drug and alcohol treatment was ordered. His driver’s license was suspended for one year.
∫ Timothy Ryan Abate, 22, incarcerated, was sentenced for trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fourth degree occurring April 19, 2016. He was given three years of community controls and will serve six months in jail with credit for 101 days, then six months at the Eastern Ohio Correction Center.
∫ Orville Dale Baughman III, 30, of 53968 Krebs Hill Road, Clarington, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after violating his probation through a positive drug screening. He was originally convicted of burglary, a felony of the fourth degree occurring March 30, 2016.
∫ Chad Ernest Comas, 29, of 55424 Wabash St., Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering, a felony of the fifth degree occurring Feb. 14, 2016. Sentencing was set for Dec. 18.
∫ Bradley Alan Craig, 32, incarcerated, pleaded guilty to pandering obscenity involving a minor, a felony of the fourth degree occurring April 28. His sentencing was set for Dec. 18. According to the prosecutor’s office, Craig was accused of downloading the material on his computer and sharing it.
∫ Autumn Marie Preston, 22, incarcerated, admitted to violating her probation due to a positive screening and a new drug charge. She will be sentenced Dec. 18. She was originally convicted of burglary, a felony of the third degree occurring Oct. 14, 2015.
∫ James Jason Rudai, 37, of 1009 Carlisle St., Martins Ferry, pleaded guilty to failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a felony of the third degree occurring Oct. 8. His sentencing was set for Dec. 18.
∫ Percy Shannon Sinclair, 34, of 332 Kenney St., Wheeling, W.Va., pleaded guilty to attempted possession of drugs, a felony of the third degree occurring Oct. 22. Sentencing was set for Dec. 18.
∫ Joshua Ryan Smerczynski, 21, of 71141 Main St., St. Clairsville, saw his probation revoked due to a positive drug test. His sentencing was set for Dec. 18. He was originally convicted of trafficking in drugs in the vicinity of a school, a felony of the fourth degree occurring Oct. 24, 2015.
∫ Kiana Wallace, 24, incarcerated, saw her probation revoked after testing positive for drugs. Her sentencing was set for Dec. 18. She was originally convicted of possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree occurring June 25, 2016.
∫ Kelly Gene Watts, 43, incarcerated, saw his probation revoked after a violation and a sentence of 500 days imposed, with credit for 466 days. He was originally convicted of domestic violence, a felony of the third degree occurring Aug. 30, 2015.