A Mt. Sterling resident was sentenced to prison Thursday after she admitted to authorities to working with a “team” of “dope boys” and “prostitutes” in central Ohio.
Melissa M. Thompson, 36, is one of three people identified in a loose criminal network operating between Fayette County and Columbus. Pistol, vehicle and credit card thefts reported recently in Washington Court House were linked to Thompson, who was identified in a store surveillance video by the Washington Court House Police Department.
Thompson received a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to grand theft of a firearm, a third degree felony, one year in prison for theft, a fifth degree felony, one year in prison for misuse of a credit card, a fifth degree felony, one-and-a-half years in prison for grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth degree felony, and one year in prison for theft, a fifth degree felony.
The prison sentences were each ordered to run concurrent to another, for a total of three years in prison on all charges, to be served consecutive to Thompson’s current term of incarceration out of Champaign County, Ohio.
According to police reports filed in the case, three vehicles were broken into on Greensview Lane in Washington C.H. over a period of two days in November. A pistol, credit cards, driver’s license, cash and laptop were reported stolen.
One of the credit cards allegedly stolen was reportedly used at several businesses in Washington C.H. to purchase more than $1,700 in merchandise before the card was cancelled.
Police reviewed store video surveillance and identified three suspects who were driving a Ford Expedition with New York license plates. The Ford Expedition was reported stolen by the Bexley Police Department near Columbus when the driver left the keys in the vehicle while inside a gas station.
The police reportedly found the Expedition a few days later on Forest Street in Washington C.H. The police located on the same street a Nissan Versa that had also been reported stolen by the Columbus Police Department. While the police department processed the two stolen vehicles, the suspects allegedly hid nearby and watched, stole a Dodge Stratus from North Main Street in Washington C.H., and left for Columbus.
Thompson was eventually arrested and gave a statement to police about the stolen items. She said that it’s possible other individuals could be involved in the incidents as they were a “team” and had “prostitutes” to go out and buy and sell items, reports said. Thompson admitted the thefts were related to drug habits and “advised that most of the time she just stayed high and did what she was told,” according to reports.
The state dismissed three other charges in Thompson’s indictment, including receiving stolen property and two counts of felonious theft in the plea and sentence agreement.
The Fayette County Court of Common Pleas judgment entry of conviction and sentence shows that Thompson has 85 days of local jail time credit in the case for days already served on the charges. She was ordered to pay restitution, joint and several with any co-defendants in the case, in the amount of $1,355. She was ordered to pay an additional $1,377.39 for the costs for prosecution in the case.
Thompson is serving her prison time at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, according to reports.
Another person allegedly involved in the thefts, Kyle R. Johnson, has been arraigned in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas and will appear for a final pre-trial June 12. Johnson, 32, is also charged with grand theft of a firearm, theft, misuse of a credit card, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property.
According to Thompson’s statement to police, allegedly “Johnson handled the guns and that they were traded to ‘dope boys’ in Columbus.” (A “dope boy” is a drug peddler known to sell heroin, crack or cocaine.)
No record of charges was found for a 37-year-old Leesburg man identified as a suspect in the store’s surveillance video.
Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton