Second leader of central Ohio theft ring pleads not guilty to charges


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com



Justin Emmons

Justin Emmons


Steele


Chafin


Three individuals accused in an organized theft ring across nine Ohio counties appeared in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Wednesday, including one of the alleged ring leaders.

Justin Emmons, 26, of Marion, was one of the alleged leaders of the organization and appeared in court to be arraigned on charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and six counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.

Emmons, through his attorney, Scott Culbert, entered a not-guilty plea to the charges. Judge Everett Krueger set bond for Emmons at $50,000 and scheduled him for a trial on Dec. 15.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Douglas Dumolt said that Justin Emmons, along with his mother, Wendy Sue Emmons, 46, and his brother, Jordan Emmons, also of Marion, would recruit friends or girlfriends, get them addicted to heroin and force them to steal to support their drug habits.

Prosecutors said the organization is responsible for at least 168 thefts across nine counties and said that Justin Emmons himself participated in at least three dozen. Dumolt said the organization would steal small but valuable items, like bags of candy, fishing lures or batteries, and take them back to Wendy Emmons, who would in turn sell them to Phillip Roger Burkholder, 82, of Forest, Ohio, who would then sell the stolen goods at auction.

Prosecutors allege the ring is responsible for stealing between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of goods.

Prosecutors allege that the group stole from stores in Delaware, Crawford, Seneca, Richland, Marion, Franklin, Morrow, Hancock and Logan counties.

Two of the alleged thieves in the rings, Brittany Chafin, 24, of 74 Griswold St., Delaware, and Sasha Steele, 24, of Marion, were also arraigned Wednesday and entered not-guilty pleas to charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and two counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.

Chafin’s bond was set at $7,500 and Steele’s bond was set at $10,000. Chafin and Steele were in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that all members of the theft ring are now in custody and the final member to be arraigned, Jordan Emmons, is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. Jordan Emmons is charged with one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and three counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.

The alleged fence, Burkholder, was arraigned Sept. 30 and entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and three counts of money laundering, third-degree felonies. Krueger released Burkholder on a personal recognizance bond after prosecutors said they did not consider him a flight risk.

Additionally, Wendy Emmons, currently residing in the Ohio Reformatory for Women, faces a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and four counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies. She entered a not-guilty plea at her arraignment on Oct. 7.

The other individuals involved in the ring that have been arraigned are: Stevie R. Henry, 25, of Marion, whom prosecutors say was a thief in the organization; and Michael Jenkins, 32, of Marion, another alleged thief. Henry entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and two counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies. Jenkins entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and four counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.

Jenkins was released after posting a $7,500 bond and Henry was released on a personal recognizance bond so she can continue to receive treatment for heroin addiction.

The members of the organization have all been scheduled for trial on Dec. 15.

The investigation is being led by the Organized Crime Investigations Commission division of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in connection with several law enforcement agencies, including the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.

Justin Emmons
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/10/web1_Justin-Emmons.jpgJustin Emmons

Steele
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/10/web1_Steele.jpgSteele

Chafin
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/10/web1_Chafin.jpgChafin

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmedianetwork.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG