Guilty plea entered in crime wave

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – A plea of guilty was entered in a series of burglaries that swept Belmont County.

Lawrence Edgar Henry, 36, 71493 Fairpoint Providence Road, Fairpoint, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 14 counts of burglary, one count receiving stolen property and an additional count of breaking and entering. Sentencing was set for Nov. 19.

He pleaded in Belmont County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jennifer L. Sargus presided.

During a four-month period, Henry and two accused confederates engaged in a county-wide spree of daylight thefts into residences in Pease, Richland, Mead and Pultney townships. Portable and pawnable items were targeted. According to the prosecutor’s office, recovered items were valued at more than $100,000.

The sheriff’s department led the investigation.

Should the sentences be served consecutively, Henry would face close to 110 years in prison.

Prosecutor Chris Berhalter said his office would ask for a term of at least 10 years.

“Everyone has a right to be safe in their homes, and this defendant violated that right. This is something that can never be tolerated,” he said. “He went on a crime spree that appears to be unparalleled in this county.”

Henry cited a drug problem as the motive of his crimes. He claimed to have become addicted to painkillers after suffering an accident.

In other cases, Jesse Allen Saffell, 22, 58586 Sandy Ridge Road, Barnesville, was sentenced for violation of his probation. He will serve one year in jail and receive treatment for alcohol dependency. He was originally convicted of burglary, a felony of the third degree occurring Aug. 16, 2010.

Clarence Alexander Arno, 65, 54730 Winding Hill Road, Bellaire, was sentenced to 60 days as part of a suspended one-year sentence for driving under the influence, a felony of the third degree occurring April 12, 2012.

Michael Anthony Arnold, 20, 71620 Morristown Flushing Road, Flushing, pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and one count passing a bad check, felonies of the fifth degree, and one count telecommunications fraud, a felony of the fourth degree occurring Aug. 28, 2012. Sentence was set for Nov. 5. A pre-sentencing investigation and victim impact statement was ordered. He faces a maximum of 54 months.

Bernadette Angela Demetrovich, 59, 111 Broadview Drive, Cadiz, pleaded guilty to theft, a felony of the fourth degree occurring Jan. 1, 2004. Sentence was set for Jan. 22.

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