Monday, June 2nd, 2008
By Shelley Grieshop
Area men sent to prison for 70-plus vehicle break-ins
Several thefts occurred in Celina and Rockford
  Two area men have been sentenced and another has pleaded guilty to more than 70 vehicle break-ins in Mercer, Auglaize and Allen counties in the last year.
A total of 67 indictment charges were handed down by an Auglaize County grand jury since investigators arrested Billy Ray Pate, 21, Nicholas M. Redman, 19, and Corey W. Metz, 19, all of Wapakoneta in early February. Forty-nine of the charges have been dismissed in plea agreements.
Pate was sentenced recently in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court to nine years and 11 months in prison and ordered to pay $2,225.09 in restitution after pleading guilty two weeks ago to theft, two counts of breaking and entering, two counts of possession of criminal tools and burglary.
He faced a maximum 13 years behind bars.
Pate's accomplice, Redman, was sentenced to 11 years and four months in prison and ordered to pay the same amount in restitution as Pate after pleading guilty to theft, four counts of breaking and entering and three counts of burglary.
Redman faced a maximum 20 years in prison.
Metz pleaded guilty May 19 to breaking and entering, two counts of theft and burglary. He faces a maximum 41/2 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Tuesday.
A teenage boy also was arrested for the thefts, however, his name and case information was not released.
The arrests of the four were the result of a stake-out by St. Marys Police and the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office and occurred in an area near Beech Street in St. Marys where numerous vehicles had previously been broken into. Officers observed the suspects in a nearby parking lot, followed them and initiated a traffic stop at 10:20 p.m. Feb. 1.
Search warrants were obtained for the suspects' vehicle and a pair of apartments in Wapakoneta where they resided. Many stolen items were recovered in the search, according to St. Marys Police Chief Greg Foxhoven.
Drugs and drug paraphernalia were recovered in the suspects car, which was impounded by police.
Some of the stolen items included cash, cigarettes, PlayStation video games and numerous others, Foxhoven said.
Most of the Auglaize County break-ins occurred in the southwest region; several also occurred in Celina, Rockford and the Spencerville area. Authorities said some of the vehicles broken into were unlocked and others sustained damage when the thieves threw rocks or other objects at them to gain entry.
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