Man to spend start of theft sentence on house arrest

By Nick Walton - [email protected]

An Urbana man will spend time on house arrest as part of a community control sentence for stealing from vendors of a local business.

Mark J. Mefford, 41, was placed on community control for five years during a sentencing hearing Friday. As part of community control, Mefford was ordered to spend the first 45 days of his sentence on electronically monitored house arrest.

Mefford was indicted in January for theft, a fifth degree felony.

The Urbana Police Division began an investigation in December 2016 into thefts reported by various consignment vendors at H. Holding Company. Vendors reported that over the preceding several months they had not been paid by Mefford for items he sold for them in the store and were out over $5,000.

The grand jury indictment contends Mefford’s conduct occurred between August and December of last year.

Current H. Holding Company owner Kristie Herlong told the Daily Citizen Friday Mefford has had no affiliation with H. Holding Company since Dec. 8, 2016.

Mefford pleaded guilty to the theft charge on March 27.

During Friday’s sentencing, Champaign County Assistant Prosecutor Samantha Whetherholt said Mefford admitted to stealing to pay for bills at another business and the victims of his conduct believed his conduct was due to alleged drug abuse of prescription pills.

Two victims of Mefford’s actions spoke during Friday’s hearing.

Michael Manoloff spoke about how Mefford’s conduct betrayed the trust of vendors and Gina Mokry told Mefford he would die if he continued to be involved with drugs.

Mefford said he was sorry for his actions adding he was trying to juggle too much at one time.

As part of his sentence, Mefford was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $6,399.88, obtain an assessment and successfully complete “Thinking for a Change” programming ordered by the West Central Probation Incentive Program, and successfully complete counseling for substance use, alcohol and financial management.

Judge Nick Selvaggio advised Mefford missing court ordered counseling would result in jail time or another court hearing.

Mefford was also ordered to not purchase or use substances specifically identified by the court, complete 250 hours of community service by March 17, 2019, and have no contact with any of the victims or H. Holding Company.

While on house arrest, Mefford is only allowed to travel to court and medical appointments.

If community control is revoked, Mefford faces a 10-month prison sentence.

By Nick Walton

[email protected]

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

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