Two men were indicted by a Delaware County grand jury Friday after allegedly breaking into multiple buildings, including the Humane Society of Madison County.
The two allegedly broke into animal shelters in 17 counties.
James Blankenship, 30, of Mount Gilead, and Corby Creech, 37, of Cardington, were both charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; 10 counts of breaking and entering, fifth-degree felonies; and three counts of safe cracking, fourth-degree felonies.
Prosecutors said the targets were humane societies, animal shelters and a car wash.
“In total, 17 counties reported break-ins to law enforcement throughout January and February of 2015,” said Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien. “Stolen items included thousands of dollars in cash, gift cards, animal medicine, and a puppy from the Hardin County dog shelter.”
Prosecutors say the counties included in the indictment are Madison, Delaware, Ashland, Champaign, Hancock, Hardin, Huron, Knox, Logan, Marion, Medina, Morrow, Muskingum, Seneca, Union, Washington and Wayne.
The break-in at the Humane Society of Madison County occurred on Feb. 16.
The individuals destroyed three doors (including the front glass doors), went through cabinets and took off with a safe full of syringes and drugs — medicine for the animals. Footage from the incident put the perpetrators in the building between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.
No animals were harmed, which was the most important thing to director Betty Peyton.
“My first thought was, ‘Are the animals OK?’” she said. “That was everybody’s first concern.”
Arraignments for both men have not been scheduled.
In March, the Associated Press reported more than a dozen break-ins at animal shelters across Ohio could be related.
Authorities said then they were working together to try to solve the burglaries that have plagued shelters since early January.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that electronics, office supplies, checks and hard drives have been taken at various shelters.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG
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