Man sentenced in coin theft scheme

MARIETTA – A Parkersburg man was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in the Washington County Jail for his role in a scheme to break into the coin machines at a Belpre car wash.

James M. Ashwell, 22, of 1702 15th St., was caught Sept. 9 by the Belpre Police Department using a walkie-talkie to signal to an accomplice who was allegedly cutting the lock off a coin machine at the Super Splash car wash near the Belpre Kroger.

“He was just a lookout,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham of Ashwell’s involvement in the crime.

Ashwell was indicted in December. The accomplice has not been charged because of lack of evidence, added Graham.

Because Ashwell has been cooperative throughout the investigation, the state was not opposed to community control sanctions, said Graham.

“Additionally, we would not be opposed to an interim jail sentence if it is requested because of the defendant’s cooperation,” she said.

Ashwell’s attorney, Eric Fowler, did request an interim jail sentence for Ashwell, who has been employed since January and has a newborn child.

Ashwell told Lane that he is remorseful for his actions.

“I made a bad mistake. It was a bad night, and I’m not going to do anything like that again,” he said.

Lane noted that Ashwell did not have much of a prior criminal record.

“There is at least one prior misdemeanor,” pointed out Graham.

Because he has no prior felonies, Ashwell was not eligible for a prison sentence. Lane sentenced Ashwell to five years of community control and agreed to let him serve 60 days of his 90-day jail sentence intermittently.

“If you still have your job after 30 days, you can apply to serve the rest intermittently,” he said.

Ashwell was also ordered to pay $150 restitution to Super Splash car wash.