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Friday, June 25th, 2010

Trio indicted for car theft

By Margie Wuebker
CELINA - Three Celina men face felony charges stemming from the May 15 theft of a car that subsequently ended up in Grand Lake along Lake Shore Drive in Celina.
A Mercer County grand jury returned single-count indictments of vehicle theft against Larry P. Highley, 50, 1400 W. Market St., Apt. 27; Edwin T. Lovelace, 58, 440 Touvelle St., Lot 37; and Alfred "Ted" Maxwell Jr., 53, 300 Bruns Ave., Apt. 53.
The trio appeared in Mercer County Common Pleas Court last week and entered not guilty pleas. They remain free on bond pending pretrial hearings July 6.
The fourth-degree felony charge carries a possible sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine upon conviction.
Witnesses called Celina Police shortly before 8 p.m. May 15 to report someone putting a red 1994 Pontiac in gear and letting it roll into the lake at the boat ramp across from the Hot Water Hole. Officers and the Celina Fire Department dive team responded to the scene.
Divers quickly determined during primary and secondary searches there were no occupants in the car. Lake Shore Drive was closed during the search and while a wrecker lifted the vehicle from the water.
Police received another call shortly after 8 p.m. from John Gray, 318 N. Walnut St., Celina, who told them his car was nowhere to be found when he left Roberts Town Tavern, 402 S. Main St., Celina. Authorities determined the car pulled from the lake was his.
Witnesses described the man who put the stolen vehicle in gear and provided descriptions of the car he entered afterward, the driver who immediately left the scene and the car's license number.
Lovelace and Maxwell were arrested later that night at the Lovelace home but offered conflicting statements leading to misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business. Highley's arrest came a few days later.
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