Trio from Columbus charged in Bloomingburg Phantom Fireworks theft

By Ashley Bunton -

A trio of individuals from Columbus have been charged for a $36,000 fireworks theft from Phantom Fireworks in Fayette County. The alleged heist happened in 2016.

Daniel J. Forsythe, Brittany N. Messer, and Richard David Coverdale were named as suspects in a theft of $36,000 worth of fireworks from Phantom Fireworks, 12973 OH-38, Bloomingburg.

Coverdale, 25, and Messer, 26, were both indicted in April on felonious charges of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, receiving stolen property, a fifth-degree felony, and breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony. Forsythe was served with his indictment Monday and was arraigned in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas on similar charges.

Messer also appeared in court Monday. She entered into a plea agreement with the state and plead guilty to grand theft and breaking and entering. A charge of receiving stolen property and a second charge for breaking and entering were dismissed as a part of the plea agreement.

According to assistant Fayette County prosecutor Sean Abbott, a search warrant was conducted at a Franklin County house and fireworks were found in the house. Fireworks were allegedly located inside two vehicles at the house that were seen on surveillance video at Phantom Fireworks. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office lifted fingerprints and a Bureau of Criminal Identification report showed that a fingerprint taken from a firework container matched Messer’s print.

Fayette County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven Beathard scheduled Messer’s sentencing for Oct. 30.

The court said that Messer’s lack of a prior criminal record makes the sentencing presumptive community control. Judge Beathard ordered Messer to complete an interview with the Fayette County Adult Probation Department for a pre-sentence investigation before sentencing is determined in October.

“The state of Ohio is recommending community control which I will consider with my adult probation department,” said Beathard.

Restitution may be determined at Messer’s sentencing hearing and the court said she may be responsible for re-paying up to $36,000 to Phantom Fireworks. According to records, some fireworks were recovered during the search of the house and vehicles.

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