A Huber Heights man awaits sentencing after breaking into his employer’s store and fleeing with $650.
A jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict Tuesday afternoon when the man’s criminal case proceeded to trial in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.
Christopher A. Haddick, 46, was charged with felonious breaking and entering and theft at Cheap Tobacco in Washington Court House, his employer for more than a year’s time, according to testimony.
He appeared for trial with Ohio public defense attorney Kathryn Hapner. The state’s prosecutor in the case was Fayette County assistant prosecutor Sean Abbott and Steven Beathard presided as judge.
The evidence presented at trial showed Cheap Tobacco surveillance video from the night of Oct. 9, 2016. Allegedly Haddick is seen in the video committing the breaking and entering and theft.
The full-color and high-definition video shows a darkly-clothed figure walk from the front door of the store directly into a rear room of the store. This is where two store safes were located, each in a separate location. One safe was removed, according to witnesses who testified during the trial, and contained $650 from the day’s cash drawers.
The store employees alleged Haddick stole $3,000 worth of cigarettes too, but the jury disagreed, saying the total amount of cash and merchandise taken from the store that night was less than $1,000. The felonious theft charge was then amended as Haddick was still found guilty of theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.
Store employees testified they were familiar with Haddick and two said they worked with him for more than a year. His co-workers said they were able to positively identify the figure in the surveillance video as Haddick by the way that he walked through the store.
The jury was shown the video and also two photos. One photo allegedly showed Haddick at work earlier that same day during his regularly scheduled shift from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the second photo was taken a short time later at approximately 10 p.m. The state and witnesses said Haddick wore the same pants and shoes during the breaking and entering as he had worn earlier that day during his work shift.
The dark-clothed figure in the surveillance video was wearing a mask — no face can be seen — and Haddick’s alibi was that there was no way he committed the crime because he had been at his dad’s house that night in Huber Heights.
Haddick’s alleged evidence was a receipt from a Dayton-area McDonald’s restaurant, a bank account statement that showed the purchase was made, and the VISA debit card that was used in the purchase. Haddick testified that he had saved the McDonald’s receipt, and his sister and niece testified Haddick had shown them the receipt.
But Haddick then admitted there was a joint owner on the bank account and his sister also admitted that she had a medical condition preventing her from remembering events.
There were other talking points with disputed evidence. To gain access into Cheap Tobacco that night, an employee code was utilized. The key-less entry was done with Haddick’s user code, the state argued, but Hapner and Haddick said there was no proof the employee code was attached to Haddick.
The state also emphasized that after the night of the break-in, Haddick never returned to Fayette County, never returned to work his shifts at Cheap Tobacco, and never saw his girlfriend again. Haddick testified that he moved — the same night of the break-in — to Huber Heights to live at his dad’s house.
The jury spent about 30 minutes deliberating in the jury room before emerging with their unanimous decision. The jury, made up of three women and nine men, found Haddick guilty of theft for less than $1,000, a first-degree misdemeanor, and breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony.
Following the release of the jury from the courtroom, Judge Beathard revoked Haddick’s bond and he was escorted by the bailiff to the Fayette County Jail, where he will await a June 26 sentencing hearing.
The record reflected Haddick had no prior felonies.
Ashley may be contacted by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching Twitter.com for @ashbunton
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