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Monday, January 30th, 2012

Man admits guilt to more break-ins

By Margie Wuebker
A Mendon-area man implicated in a rash of break-ins at local businesses has confessed to similar incidents in Darke County.
Douglas N. Fonner, 27, 5922 Tama Road, also remains a suspect in burglaries being investigated by authorities in Van Wert, Auglaize and Shelby counties.
Last week detectives from the Darke County Sheriff's Office traveled to the Mercer County Detention Center to interview Fonner. Local detectives also participated in the interview.
Fonner reportedly confessed to breaking into Birt's Store and Mercer Landmark in New Weston and Moody's Auto Service in Ansonia during the early morning hours of Jan. 5. He also shared his involvement in a Dec. 21 break-in at True Point Elevator in Osgood.
Darke County Detective David Hawes said multiple charges of breaking and entering and theft will be filed through the Darke County Prosecutor's Office as a result of the confessions.
He also admitted to thefts in the other counties dating back to November, according to Hawes. Charges are pending in the other jurisdictions.
Fonner, who remains incarcerated in Mercer County, also faces multiple felonies stemming from a Dec. 1 break-in at Coldwater Grain North, a Dec. 17 break-in at Mercer Landmark in Chattanooga and Jan. 5 break-ins at Five Brothers Tavern in Burkettsville and Burkettsville Garage.
Cash, televisions, cigarettes and alcohol were among the items taken, according to sheriff's office reports.
A bench warrant was issued for his arrest Jan. 19 - one day after he had a change of plea hearing for two other cases in Mercer County Common Pleas Court. Fonner pleaded guilty to four counts of breaking and entering and one count of theft stemming from incidents occurring between Jan. 24 and June 29 of last year. The state dismissed two counts of burglary and three counts of theft in exchange for the guilty plea.
Those charges relate to incidents at Burtch Seed Co. and Schroyer Truck & Trailer Sales of Rockford, Home Furniture south of Celina and Shockers Bar near Montezuma.
He also entered a guilty plea in another case involving possession of heroin on or about Feb. 23. One count of trafficking in drugs was dismissed during plea negotiations.
Sentencing in both cases is slated Feb. 15.
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