Man sentenced for animal shelter break-ins

DELAWARE COUNTY – A Mount Gilead man was sent to prison earlier this week for breaking into multiple animal shelters across the state, including a Champaign County shelter.

According to the Delaware Gazette, James Blankenship, 31, was sentenced to more than nine years in prison Monday in the Delaware County Common Pleas Court for 12 felony charges.

The charges included one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second degree felony; eight counts of breaking and entering, fifth degree felonies; and three counts of safecracking, fourth degree felonies.

Blankenship was found guilty by a jury last Friday after a four-day trial in Delaware County in which more than 50 witnesses appeared. His total sentence was nine and a half years as the sentences for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, breaking and entering and safecracking charges were ran consecutively.

According to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy John McNeely responded to a call at PAWS Animal Shelter for a break-in on Feb. 15, 2015. During McNeely’s investigation, it was determined that multiple shelters and humane offices had been burglarized throughout the state.

Blankenship and Corby Creech, 37, of Cardington, were charged with the offenses after prosecutors said both men broke into animal shelters and other businesses in numerous counties including Delaware, Ashland, Champaign, Hancock, Hardin, Huron, Knox, Logan, Madison, Marion, Medina, Morrow, Muskingum, Seneca, Union, Washington and Wayne.

The co-defendants reportedly stole cash, gift cards animal medicine and a puppy.

As part of his sentence, Blankenship was ordered to pay $15,450 in restitution to the various shelters.

Creech was sentenced three years in prison earlier this year.

Man sent to prison

A local man was sent to prison this week after pleading guilty to a new charge in a robbery case.

Scott R. Eubanks, 35, of Urbana, was sentenced to 18 months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to a fourth degree felony attempted robbery charge in the Champaign County Common Pleas Court.

On the evening of Feb. 12, Urbana police were dispatched to a reported car-jacking in the 900 block of Lewis B. Moore Drive.

Officers found the owner of the vehicle bleeding from injuries to his face and sitting in the car on the wrong side of the roadway facing westbound. A medic unit was requested to the scene to treat the driver for his injuries which included a broken nose.

Speaking with the driver, police learned the driver was staying at the 68 Motel when he was asked by Eubanks, another motel guest, for a ride to a local store. He agreed to provide a ride for Eubanks and another man with him.

After this stop, Eubanks asked the driver to give him a ride to Springfield and the driver agreed. While en route to Springfield, Eubanks reportedly began to assault the driver in the head and face demanding that he give him the vehicle.

This occurred in the 900 block of the westbound lane of Lewis B. Moore Drive. While the assault occurred inside the moving vehicle, the vehicle began losing control and began skidding on the roadway, leaving the southbound side.

Eubanks allegedly put the vehicle in park as it was moving and removed the keys from the ignition. The driver fought back with Eubanks, who exited the vehicle along with the other man and together they began leaving the area on foot.

Eubanks was later found at a South Edgewood Avenue residence.

He was originally indicted for one count each of robbery, assault, attempted grand theft of a motor vehicle and petty theft. All of these charges were dismissed Tuesday and the attempted robbery charge was introduced through a bill of information.

A journal entry on the sentencing hearing notes Eubanks was on bond or personal recognizance in the Clark County Common Pleas Court when he committed the Champaign County offense.

In Clark County, Eubanks was indicted for receiving stolen property and was sentenced to one year in prison in March. The Champaign County sentence was ordered to be served consecutively to the Clark County sentence making for a total two and a half year sentence.

He was also fined $250. Upon his release, Eubanks is subject to post release control for a period of up to three years.



By Nick Walton

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Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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