Ohio News Briefs

Authorities: Ohio criminal ring may have stolen over 50 ATMs

CLEVELAND (AP) — Authorities say a criminal ring that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars from smash-and-grab ATM thefts could be responsible for stealing more than 50 cash machines in northeast Ohio since 2015.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday includes charges connected to 10 thefts or attempted thefts since February 2015. A Cleveland police commander said Wednesday that eight of the 11 men named in the indictment are in custody. The Cuyahoga County prosecutor says more arrests and charges are expected.

The indictment says the group typically stole cargo vans, drove to targeted locations and used the vans to smash through storefronts and loosen ATMs from their moorings and accessed cash in the machines with power tools, pry bars and cutting torches.

Employees and customers were at some stores during the thefts.

Court to review Ohio attorneys’ help to marijuana businesses

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court is looking to clarify the services attorneys can provide to clients seeking to comply with the state’s new medical marijuana law.

The move comes after the court’s Board of Professional Conduct had said attorneys can’t ethically provide legal services to people setting up medical marijuana-related business because of federal prohibitions on the drug. Using, growing and selling marijuana remains a federal crime.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said Wednesday the board’s non-binding advisory opinion has caused some lawyers to question whether they can help clients follow the new law. She said the court hopes to address their concerns and, if necessary, amend ethics rules to clarify the role of attorneys.

She said the court would consider proposed amendments to its professional conduct rules later this month.

Coroner: Man killed by police in Ohio shot 7 times

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A coroner says a man killed by police in central Ohio was shot seven times.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Franklin County coroner’s report says 23-year-old Henry Green was shot June 6 in his chest, elbow, thigh, hip, armpit and both forearms, with the chest wound causing his death. Green’s blood tested positive for an intoxicant found in marijuana, and for ethanol, or alcohol.

Two plainclothes Columbus officers say they opened fire after Green, who was black, ignored commands to drop his gun and fired on them. Green’s family and a friend with him say police didn’t identify themselves. The uninjured officers say they did.

A city attorney and a Green family lawyer said they had no comment on the coroner’s report.

The family wants an independent investigation.

Portman, Strickland set 3 fall debates in Ohio Senate race

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s major-party U.S. Senate candidates have announced a series of debates.

The campaigns of Republican incumbent Rob Portman and Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, the former Ohio governor, said Wednesday they’ve scheduled the three face-offs for October.

The events will be in Youngstown Oct. 14, in Columbus on Oct. 17 and in Cleveland on Oct. 20.

The series takes place over six days and notably skirts the state’s heavily blue-collar northwest quadrant and Portman’s hometown of Cincinnati.

A joint statement from the campaigns says the debates will provide Ohioans the chance to learn about and evaluate both candidates’ stands on critical issues.

Each debate will run an hour, with 90-second answers, 90-second responses and 30-second rebuttals. Both candidates will have two minutes for opening statements and two minutes for closing statements.

Backers seek second look at Ohio drug-price ruling

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Backers of a proposal aimed at controlling prescription drug prices are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to reconsider requiring their issue to be re-submitted to the Legislature after adequate signatures are collected.

Supporters of the Drug Price Relief Act, who include the California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, say the requirement imposed in a Monday ruling would be unconstitutional and result in “extreme prejudice.” Their proposal aims to keep state entities from buying drugs at prices higher than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays.

They asked Wednesday for the issue to bypass lawmakers and go straight back to voters once enough names are collected.

Justices ruled election officials erroneously counted 10,303 signatures submitted last year, leaving backers short by 5,044 valid signatures. Backers have until Aug. 25 to resubmit new signatures.

Businessman heading to prison for not paying $600K in taxes

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio businessman who admitted to bankrolling a luxurious lifestyle by not paying more than $600,000 in federal income taxes is heading to prison.

Forty-seven-year-old Thomas Klocker was sentenced to six months in federal prison and fined $500,000 on Tuesday. The Lakewood man pleaded guilty to tax evasion in May.

Defense attorney Richard Blake had argued that probation would have been a more suitable sentence.

Klocker apologized in court and says he’s worked very hard to correct his actions.

Federal authorities say Klocker diverted money from his metals business in Westlake to pay for an expensive waterfront home, world travel and to maintain his 68-foot yacht called “Tommy Time.” Authorities say Klocker also failed to report $2 million in income from 2007 through 2010.