LIMA — One day after police officers announced a litany of charges against two men in connection with numerous car break-ins, one of the men was proclaiming his innocence and officials are backpedaling.
Scott Ferenczi said he was fired from his job Tuesday afternoon and is upset after police officials announced numerous charges against him before investigating the case closer.
“This whole thing has ruined my life,” he said.
On Monday, Maj. Chip Protsman of the Lima Police Department said the 34-year-old Ferenczi was charged with petty theft, suspicion of burglary, criminal mischief, possession of criminal tools and obstructing official business. By Tuesday, the only charge that remained was criminal mischief, a third-degree misdemeanor, Protsman said.
“We still feel he had something to do with this incident,” Protsman said.
Exactly what that something was unclear.
Protsman said the criminal mischief charge alleges someone does something with someone else’s property without privilege to do so, such as destroying, moving, defacing, damaging or tampering.
Protsman said the case was reviewed by the prosecutor and the prosecutor felt there was only enough evidence to prove the criminal mischief charge, so that charge will remain.
“By no means are we saying that he did not play a role in it like he was claiming,” Protsman said.
But Ferenczi said Protsman and police officials are just flat wrong. Ferenczi is adamant he had nothing to do with the crimes. He said he plans to fight the one charge officials were pursuing. He also said officials owe him a big apology.
Ferenczi said he was with the other man charged, Kevin Johnson, that night but only to catch a ride home from a bar. He said he passed out in Johnson’s car. He said he returned home where officers later arrested him accusing him of playing a role in the crimes.
Protsman said one witness said there was another man breaking into cars with Johnson.
Ferenczi said there was no evidence, whatsoever, that connects him to the crime because he did not commit any crimes.
“They don’t have a witness that saw me. I can guarantee you that,” he said.
Ferenczi said he is not a criminal. The only blemish on his record is a drunken-driving offense last year. He said he doesn’t use illegal drugs as police officers suggested Monday.
“I have nothing to do with drug abuse,” he said.