Accused pot burglar in court


By Audrey Ingram - aingram@civitasmedia.com



A London man accused of breaking into a home to steal pot plants, and the woman who allegedly helped him hide from police, are now facing felony charges.

Matthew Riley, 28, was arraigned in Madison County Common Pleas Court Thursday morning on one count of third-degree felony burglary.

Brittany Coffey, 22, also of London, was arraigned on one fifth-degree felony count of obstructing justice.

Riley and co-defendant Gregory A. Newell, 22, of London, are accused of breaking into a New Hampshire Avenue residence in the early morning hours of Jan. 13 to steal marijuana plants.

Officers responded to a call reporting a burglary in progress at the seldom-occupied home shortly after midnight. When they arrived on foot, two men, later identified as Riley and Newell, fled on foot, dropping several marijuana plants outside the residence, London Police Chief Glenn Nicol said previously.

Newell was arrested at the scene. He is also charged with third-degree felony burglary. He is due back in court next week.

Officers found Riley’s identification in a jacket during the foot pursuit.

Later that night, shortly after 11 p.m, officers received a tip pointing to Riley’s location at a Cherry Street residence, Nicol said.

Coffey answered the door and denied that Riley was at the residence. However, a toddler in the home directed police officers to her father’s hiding place inside a cabinet under the kitchen sink, Nicol said.

Both Riley and Coffey were released on recognizance bond. They are due back in court on March 16.

Charges have not yet been filed against anyone for growing the marijuana plants.

Also in court Thursday:

• Patrick Henry, 45, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to one fifth-degree felony charge of theft and one fourth-degree felony charge of failure to comply. He was originally charged with one fifth-degree felony count of theft, one third-degree felony count of failure to comply and one fifth-degree felony count of possession of criminal tools. Henry stole 12 iPads from Walmart, using a shopping cart to attempt to crash through the store’s front doors, and leading police officers on a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed his vehicle. He will be sentenced on March 4.

• Kari Holder Cooks, 42, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to one third-degree felony count of illegal conveyance of drugs for trying to transport drugs to her husband in Madison Correctional Institution. She will be sentenced on March 16.

• Stevin J. Howard, 27, of Mechanicsburg, was arraigned on one count of fifth-degree felony possession of drugs for cocaine. He was released on recognizance bond. He is due back in court for an informal pretrial on March 16.

• Franklin D. Rinehart III, 27, of South Solon, was arraigned on one count of fourth-degree felony theft of drugs for allegedly stealing hydrocodone acetaminophen. He was released on recognizance bond and is due back in court on March 16.

• Melissa R. Pertuset, 48, of London, was arraigned on one third-degree felony count of deception to obtain a dangerous drug. Pertuset allegedly filled a prescription for her dead mother for acetaminophen/codeine. She was released on recognizance bond. She is due back in court on March 16.

• Karen M. Martin, 43, of West Jefferson, was arraigned on one fourth-degree felony count of grand theft and one fourth-degree felony count of tampering with records. Martin allegedly stole more than $100,000 from Forrest Trucking from Nov. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015 while she was employed as an office manager. She was released on recognizance bond. Martin, who identified herself as a recovering drug addict, asked the judge for house arrest exemptions to attend narcotics recovery group meetings. She is due back in court on March 16.

• Aubrey Barnes, 26, of Columbus, was arraigned on one third-degree felony count of possession for more than 1,000 grams of marijuana and one fifth-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs for hydrocodone. He was released on recognizance bond. He is due back in court March 16.

• Ian T. March, 31, of Columbus, was charged with one third-degree felony count of failure to comply and one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence.

In January, March allegedly led police officers on a high-speed chase for 20 miles through Madison and Clark counties heading west on Interstate 70 with speeds reaching 115 miles per hour around 5:30 p.m. Several other vehicles crashed in efforts to avoid March, assistant prosecuting attorney Nick Adkins said. The judge set bond at $7,500, $5,000 more than the $2,500 bond March previously posted in municipal court.

March sought to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, but the judge directed him to speak to his lawyer first.

• Kelly L. Harding, 47, of Carbondale, Colorado, was arraigned on one count of second-degree felony possession of marijuana and one fifth-degree felony count of possession of criminal tools. Harding was allegedly stopped on Interstate 70 with more than 120 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. If convicted, that weight carries a mandatory prison sentence of eight years. Harding’s bond was set at $50,000. He is due back in court on March 16.

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By Audrey Ingram

aingram@civitasmedia.com

Reach Audrey Ingram at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or on Twitter @Audrey.MP

Reach Audrey Ingram at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or on Twitter @Audrey.MP

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