MARIETTA - Former Marietta City Schools assistant treasurer Barbara Mincks has been indicted by a Washington County grand jury on a third-degree felony charge of theft in office.
"She was the assistant treasurer who stole over $145,000 from the Marietta School Board," said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
During an annual audit in October, the Ohio Auditor's Office discovered checks that had been reissued in Mincks' name, he said. Initially they found checks dating back to September 2010. Further investigation by the auditors and the Marietta Police Department led to instances leading back to 2007 being discovered, said Schneider.
Mincks, 53, of 60 Warner Second St., Lower Salem, had allegedly been watching for checks that were issued by the school district that went uncashed for a long time. Mincks, an employee of the school district since 1984, would then reissue the checks in her own name, officials said.
Also on the list of 26 people indicted were two Waterford men allegedly involved in a road rage incident, Jason J. Peplin, 34, of 440 Main St. and Scott M. Zimmerman, 33, of 405 Main St..
On Aug. 7, Zimmerman and his girlfriend were riding a motorcycle behind Peplin's vehicle, said Schneider. Peplin braked, suddenly forcing Zimmerman to slam on his brakes, and a case of road rage quickly escalated from verbal comments to a physical altercation on the side of the road, said Schneider.
"Peplin was being pummeled by Zimmerman with numerous blows to the face," he said. At that point, Peplin pulled a knife to defend himself, according to prosecutors. He cut Zimmerman under the eye, on his knee and on his upper right arm.
Both men were charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. The charge would normally be a minor misdemeanor, but was elevated to a major charge because they persisted in fighting after they had been warned to stop by Zimmerman's girlfriend and an off-duty Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper.
Zimmerman was also charged with a first-degree misdemeanor count of assault. The grand jury opted not to charge Peplin with assault.
Other individuals indicted were:
* Heather D. Thompson, 24, of 1256 Edwards Lane, Apt. A2, Zanesville, was indicted on two charges. The first, a fifth-degree felony charge of possession of drugs, originated from a traffic stop on June 22 in Marietta. A canine from the Marietta Police Department indicated the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Thompson, the vehicle's passenger, was found to be in possession of cocaine, said Schneider.
On July 21, Thompson got into an argument with Meriah Dunn, 22, of New Matamoras. "In the course of the argument, Ms. Thompson hit Ms. Dunn with a brick in the head and Ms. Dunn had to get stitches," said Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Amy Graham.
Thompson was indicted on a second-degree felony charge of felonious assault, said Graham.
* Three people were indicted on several charges stemming from break-ins in Lowell and New Matamoras, said Graham.
Allen J. Grigg, also known as Anthony Johnson, 20, of 1280 Cedar Ridge Road, Lowell, along with Steven E. Knotts, 24, of 233 Main St., Lowell, and Susan E. Knotts, 24, of the same address, each received a dozen charges.
On Aug. 17, Grigg and the Knotts allegedly broke into two homes and a business in Lowell, and took property from outside two other homes. During the same night, they also broke into the home of Shane Givens in New Matamoras, said Graham. "It's alleged they burned his house to the ground," she said.
Grigg and Steven Knotts were each charged with a second-degree felony count of aggravated arson, three third-degree felony counts of burglary, two fourth-degree felony counts of theft, two fifth-degree felony counts of breaking and entering, one fifth-degree felony count of theft and three first-degree misdemeanor counts of theft.
Susan Knotts was charged with complicity in each of the same 12 charges.
* Three people were indicted for their involvement in stealing $14,000 worth of copper piping from Eramet Marietta Inc. on Feb. 4, said Schneider.
Richard L. Nolan, 39, of 4843 15th Ave., Parkersburg, was indicted on one third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence, one fourth-degree felony count of theft, one fourth-degree felony count of theft and one fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering.
John Wyatt, 56, of 125 Marnatha Circle, Belpre, was indicted on one third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence and two fourth-degree felony counts of receiving stolen property.
Jonathan P. Stringer, 31, of 410 Victoria Ave., Parkersburg, was indicted on one third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence and one fourth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property.
Nolan, along with an accomplice believed to be Stringer, allegedly broke into Eramet and removed the copper piping, which was encased in lead, with the help of a vehicle belonging to Wyatt. The truck was caught on video and later located at Wyatt's home, said Schneider.
Wyatt received an additional charge of receiving stolen property because a Bobcat hauling trailer, reported stolen from Columbus, was found on his property, said Schneider.
* Lucas A. Heiss, 32, of 17 Kings Row Court, Lot 14, Parkersburg, was indicted on two second-degree felony counts of burglary, one fourth-degree felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle and one fifth-degree felony count of theft. On Oct. 12, Heiss allegedly broke into a home on Deming Road in Vincent. Among other things, Heiss stole checks and a vehicle, said Schneider.
Then on Nov. 5, Heiss broke into and stole from a home on Mines Road in Waterford, said Schneider.
* Blake M. Keel, 20, of 707 Pomeroy Pike, Belpre, was indicted on one fourth-degree felony count of theft, one fourth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property, one fifth-degree felony count of falsification and one fifth-degree felony count of insurance fraud.
In 2011, Keel and his father, William Keel, 50, of 1666 Schoolhouse Road, Little Hocking, took out a loan through Riverview Credit Union in Belpre and purchased a motocross dirt bike. Neither Blake nor William made any payments on the bike and it was about to be repossessed, said Schneider.
On July 25, 2011, the Keels reported the bike stolen from Blake's grandmother's home. The Washington County Sheriff's Office took a report and the Keels used that report to have the insurance pay off the bank loan.
"The Keels got the financial advantage of not having to pay the bank," said Schneider.
The missing bike was found in September when Robert Fracasso, of Belpre, was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Fairfield County. Fracasso was hauling the missing dirt bike in a truck that was also reported stolen, said Schneider.
However, Fracasso reported that he had actually purchased the bike from Blake on July 1.
Blake allegedly admitted to officers that the bike had never been stolen. Rather, he had hid it on property the Keels owned in Parkersburg, officials said.
William was not indicted on the dirt bike incident because there is no proof he was involved in hiding or selling the bike, said Schneider.
* Michael T. Polk, 49, of 15 High Lane, Whipple was indicted on 13 fifth-degree felony charges of illegal use of food stamps of WIC program benefits. His girlfriend, Jolena Best, 47, of the same address, was arrested on two counts of the same charge. Polk owns and operates Polk's Market at 90 Railroad St., Whipple. Between Feb. 23 and Aug. 21, Polk and Best reportedly allowed undercover agents to use food stamp EBT cards to purchase items which are prohibited from food stamp purchases, said Schneider. Those items included alcohol, tobacco products, and hot lunches, he said.
* Michele Boyd, 44, of 3701 Zion Ridge Road, Marietta, was indicted on seven fourth-degree felony counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug and one fifth-degree felony count of illegal processing of drug documents. Boyd had been calling in prescriptions, pretending to be a representative of a doctor in Lexington, Ky., according to prosecutors.
* Dwayne E. Miller, 48, of 1177 Millers Lane, Marietta, was indicted on one third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence and two fourth-degree felony counts of receiving stolen property. Miller was found to be in possession of a truck that was stolen out of Florida three years ago, said Schneider.
* Wayne A. Rhodes, 24, of 4080 Newberry Road, Little Hocking, was indicted on one fifth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property. Rhodes was found to be in possession of a 1993 Honda Prelude reported stolen.
* Jeremy R. Braun, 28, of 1080 Walsh Road, Vincent, was indicted on a second-degree felony count of robbery and a first-degree misdemeanor count of assault. On Oct. 1, Braun allegedly beat up an acquaintance and stole his vehicle.
* Christopher M. Moneypenny, 30, homeless, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony charge of receiving stolen property. Moneypenny was trying to sell tools at River City Jewelry & Pawn in Belpre that were reported stolen from West Virginia and are possibly connected to burglaries there, said Graham.
* Harlan Ramage, 43, of Macksburg, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of theft and a fourth-degree felony count of safe cracking. Ramage stole a safe from his father on April 18 and broke into it, said Schneider. Inside were pills, $2,000 and a motor vehicle title.
* James Ashwell, 22, of 1702 15th St., Parkersburg, was indicted on one fifth-degree felony count of complicity to breaking and entering and one fifth-degree felony count of possessing criminal tools. On Sept. 9, Ashwell was allegedly using a two-way radio to signal police presence to a friend who was trying to break into the coin machines at Super Splash car wash in Belpre.
* Brent J. McKinney, 38, of 6650 Highland Ridge Road, Lowell, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of forgery and a fifth-degree felony count of theft. McKinney stole checks from his father and was filling them out, signing his father's name, and cashing them, said Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.
* Courtney Dailey, 27, of Reedsville, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft. Dailey allegedly stole and cashed five checks totaling $600 from her stepfather.
* Vickie M. Thompson, 30, of 300 Starlite Drive, Lot 40, Marietta, was indicted on one fifth-degree felony count of deception to obtain a dangerous drug. On Oct. 27, Thompson allegedly tried to have her grandmother's prescription for tramadol filled at the Marietta Walgreens.
* Cody M. Westbrook, 22, of 209 Gibbons Place, Marietta, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony charge of possession of drugs.
* Daniel R. Sampson, 44, of 306 3rd St., Lowell, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony charge of operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He was arrested Nov. 15 in Beverly after an officer observed Sampson committing traffic violations, officials said. Sampson has had more than five OVI charges in the past 20 years, which is what elevated the charge to a felony, said Graham.