Trial set for Franklin County suspect in fireworks theft case

By Ashley Bunton -

The third suspect accused of stealing $37,734.70 in fireworks from Phantom Fireworks in Bloomingburg is scheduled to go to trial Nov. 28, but court testimony revealed the matter could be resolved earlier.

A final pretrial hearing was held Monday in the case of Daniel J. Forsythe, 38, of Columbus, in front of Fayette County Common Pleas Judge Steven Beathard.

Forsythe, of Columbus, is currently held in the Franklin County Correction Center on four charges of forgery, 10 charges of aggravated robbery, and two charges of possessing criminal tools, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Fayette County sent a holder to Franklin County July 6 and wrote to the jail that Fayette County would extradite Forsythe from there when they were ready for pick-up.

A break-in and theft was reported at Phantom Fireworks the early morning hours of June 24, 2016 to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.

The alleged theft was from a semitrailer parked within a fenced area at Phantom Fireworks in Bloomingburg, reports said. Forsythe and two other suspects allegedly involved, Brittany N. Messer, 26, and Richard D. P. Coverdale, 25, cut the chain link fence at the store to gain access to a semitrailer on the premises. From there reports said the three suspects cut a hole into the side of the trailer with a reciprocating saw, and Forsythe and the two others removed an estimated 169 boxes of consumer-grade fireworks.

Forsythe was not present for the hearing Monday and has not entered a plea on the charges related to the break-in.

Assistant Fayette County prosecutor Sean Abbott and Forsythe’s defense attorney Susan Wollscheid went on the record for the hearing to say that there is an offer being made by the state to settle the case with a sentencing order for community control.

Judge Beathard said the Fayette County court system will contact the Franklin County Jail to order Forsythe to be conveyed for another pretrial hearing to discuss the case, which is set for trial Nov. 28.

The two other suspects, Coverdale and Messer, have each appeared in Common Pleas Court and plead guilty to grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. Coverdale was sentenced in September to serve one year in prison. Messer was sentenced Oct. 30 and ordered to serve 30 days in the Fayette County Jail and to be supervised on probation for two years.

Including Fayette County, Forsythe has open cases in three Ohio counties, court records show.

In Franklin County, Forsythe awaits sentencing Dec. 15 after he plead guilty July 7 to robbery, a felony of the second degree, and two counts of third-degree felony robbery.

Court records in Franklin County state that Forsythe has a case in Knox County where he was indicted November of 2016 for complicity in the commission of breaking and entering and complicity in the commission to theft, each a fifth-degree felony. The court’s docket states a guilty plea hearing is scheduled in the Knox County Court of Common Pleas on that case Dec. 1 at 9 a.m.

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley by calling (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching for @ashbunton

Reach Ashley by calling (740) 313-0355 or connect on Twitter by searching for @ashbunton