A Hamilton man was sentenced to four years in prison Friday morning for stealing purses and credit cards from strangers in parking lots.
Eugene Clark, 42, appeared in Delaware County Common Pleas Court for a change of plea hearing after he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Amelia Bean-DeFlumer detailed the agreement and said Clark would be pleading guilty to eight counts of identity theft, six fourth-degree felonies and two fifth-degree felonies and nine counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors and Clark’s attorney Dominic Mango would jointly recommend that Clark be sentenced to four years in prison for the 17 charges.
Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley asked Clark to explain why he had been charged with identity fraud and theft.
Clark told Gormley that he had an opiate addiction and was stealing purses from women in parking lots and then buying items with the stolen credit cards to support his addiction.
“I’m not proud of it,” Clark said. “I’ve thought about this as if it happened to one of my family members… I’m really remorseful. Nobody deserves this type of stuff.”
Clark said he was arrested last year for similar crimes in another county and has since become sober and is involved in treatment programs.
“Being sober has made me really think about how I let my mom down,” Clark said. “I was raised better than this. I don’t want my son to be part of this cycle.”
Prosecutors said the charges stem from nine victims who reported stolen purses or credit cards last June.
After hearing from Clark and prosecutors, Gormley sentenced Clark to four years in prison. Gormley also ordered that Clark pay restitution in the amount of $7,297.
Court records indicate that Clark is currently serving a five year and four month prison sentence for robbery and theft charges in Franklin, Clermont, Jackson and Hamilton counties. Gormley stated that Clark’s four year prison sentence would be served consecutive to his ongoing five year sentence.
Clark was indicted on Feb. 3, along with his girlfriend Jennifer Byrum, 36, of Grove City. On June 6, Byrum pleaded guilty to eight counts of identity theft, six fourth-degree felonies and two fifth-degree felonies and nine counts of theft, fifth-degree felonies.
She is currently scheduled to be sentenced on July 18 at 8:30 a.m.
Clark was in the Delaware County Jail Friday, awaiting transport back to prison.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.