Golf cart thief pleads guilty

By Andrew Garrett -

Mark A. Smiar

Mark A. Smiar

Mark A. Smiar, a member of a four-man crew of thieves responsible for a series of break-ins and thefts in Madison County earlier this year, pleaded guilty to five felony theft-related counts as part of a plea bargain in Madison County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday.

The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving stolen property, a single count of theft of a motor vehicle, a single count of theft of a firearm, and one count of breaking and entering.

Smiar, 29, of 457 N. Harris Ave., Columbus, was originally indicted on nine felony counts stemming from a series of thefts from residences on U.S. Route 42 and State Route 187.

Six of the nine original counts come from activities on the night of July 31, when Smiar and three accomplices, one of which was a juvenile, sneaked into the barns and garages of several residences along State Route 187, stealing a Beretta Trap Gun, a gas-powered golf cart, and a 2016 Dodge Durango.

The quartet were joyriding in the golf cart as they made their way back to a getaway car that they had left along the side of the highway, when a Madison County Sheriff deputy, who had been previously alerted to the scene, stepped out and demanded that the group desist. In the ensuing chaos, the golf cart was steered into a ditch and the gun thrown from the vehicle.

All four were successful in fleeing the scene.

Smiar’s sister picked up both him and the juvenile accomplice after he used his cell phone to call for a ride back to Columbus.

The other two perpetrators, as of yet unidentified and still at large, managed to escape in the 2016 Durango.

Smiar was identified by Columbus Police officers when video footage captured by a security camera from one of the crime scenes was circulated on Facebook. Both Smiar and the juvenile could be seen looking into the camera. Smiar, who is heavily tattooed, has his children’s names conspicuously emblazoned on his forehead.

Both Smiar and the juvenile were later arrested at a Eureka Avenue residence in Columbus. The Durango was retrieved from the vicinity.

The remaining three original felony counts come from the recovery of a 2011 Chevy Silverado Pickup, a 2003 Suzuki LT-F250 ATV, and accompanying trailer stolen from a residence on U.S. Route 42 near London sometime in early November 2016.

Smiar, who was wanted in Franklin County, was spotted riding the ATV in his near west Columbus neighborhood and apprehended by Columbus police. Once the ATV’s numbers were run, it was discovered it had been stolen. Recovery of the ATV led to the discovery of the stolen Chevy Silverado.

Smiar remains in Tri-County Regional Jail awaiting sentencing.

Mark A. Smiar A. Smiar

By Andrew Garrett

Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.

Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.