Columbus man reportedly involved in ‘criminal network’ sent to prison for thefts

By Ashley Bunton -



Courtesy photo

A 32-year-old Columbus man was escorted from the Fayette County Jail Monday to appear for a plea and sentence hearing in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas.

Kyle L. Johnson appeared in court at approximately 9 a.m.

On the docket was a case charging him with grand theft of a firearm, a third degree felony, theft, a fourth degree felony, receiving stolen property, a fourth degree felony, misuse of a credit card, a fifth degree felony, and grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth degree felony.

Johnson plead guilty to the charges and was ordered to serve three years in prison, a sentence that was jointly recommended by both Johnson’s public defense attorney and the state’s prosecutors. Johnson faced a maximum sentence of 11-and-a-half years in prison.

Johnson’s sentencing specified that he is to serve one-and-a-half years on grand theft of a firearm, a fourth degree felony, and one-and-a-half years on the charge of grand theft of a vehicle, a fourth degree felony.

The charges stemmed from a series of incidents that took place across several days in November of 2016 in Fayette County. Johnson was one of three people identified in a loose criminal network found responsible in gun, credit card and vehicle thefts.

A Mt. Sterling resident, Melissa M. Thompson, 36, was sentenced to prison in May for her involvement in the criminal activity after she plead guilty to grand theft of a firearm, misuse of a credit card, theft, and grand theft of a vehicle. During the Washington Court House Police Department’s investigation into the stolen guns, credit cards, and vehicles, Thompson stated to police that “Johnson handled the guns and that they were traded to ‘dope boys’ in Columbus,” reports said.

Police incident reports reveal three residents on Greensview Lane reported their vehicles were broken into, including former Washington City Council member Trent Dye, who informed police he had left his vehicle unlocked and a handgun had been stolen from inside the vehicle.

Credit cards, an identification card and gift cards were taken from the vehicles and used at Washington C.H.-area businesses. To gain a lead on the case the police were able to review security video footage to identify who had used the credit cards.

It was Thompson who first admitted to police that she was working with Johnson and a “team” of prostitutes to buy and sell items, according to reports.

Johnson later admitted the team was responsible for stealing a Ford Expedition and a Nissan Versa from Columbus.

Police officers reportedly found the Expedition and Versa on Forest Street in Washington C.H. and as they processed the two stolen vehicles, Johnson and Thompson said they had hid nearby and watched, then stole a Dodge Stratus from North Main Street and left for Columbus.

In addition to being ordered to serve three years in prison Monday, Johnson was ordered to pay restitution to the victims, including $350 to Dye for the theft of his handgun.

Johnson had 102 days of local jail time credit for days already served in the Fayette County Jail on the charges.

Johnson Courtesy photo

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley by calling her at 740-313-0355 or by searching for @ashbunton

Reach Ashley by calling her at 740-313-0355 or by searching for @ashbunton