Two men were indicted by a Delaware County grand jury Friday after allegedly breaking into multiple buildings, including animal shelters in 17 counties.
James Blankenship, 30, of Mount Gilead, and Corby Creech, 37, of Cardington, were both charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; 10 counts of breaking and entering, fifth-degree felonies; and three counts of safe cracking, fourth-degree felonies. Prosecutors said the targets were humane societies, animal shelters and a car wash.
“In total, 17 counties reported break-ins to law enforcement throughout January and February of 2015,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. “Stolen items included thousands of dollars in cash, gift cards, animal medicine, and a puppy from the Hardin County dog shelter.”
Prosecutors say the counties included in the indictment are Delaware, Ashland, Champaign, Hancock, Hardin, Huron, Knox, Logan, Madison, Marion, Medina, Morrow, Muskingum, Seneca, Union, Washington and Wayne.
The break-in at the Delaware County Humane Society occurred on Feb. 10, but nothing was reported stolen. The door and locked were damaged and needed to be replaced, according to Delaware County sheriff’s deputies.
“No animals were hurt during the break-ins,” O’Brien said. “I’m happy to add that the stolen puppy from Hardin County was recovered safely and adopted by a member of law enforcement.”
Arraignments for both men have not been scheduled.
In March, the Associated Press reported more than a dozen break-ins at animal shelters across Ohio could be related.
Authorities said then they were working together to try to solve the burglaries that have plagued shelters since early January.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that electronics, office supplies, checks and hard drives have been taken at various shelters. Veterinary drugs were taken from the shelter in Madison County, but those drugs, money and other items were in a safe that was stolen.