LIMA — A Lima man will be sentenced March 1 in Allen County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty Tuesday to one count of burglary.
James Lee, 44, accepted a deal crafted by prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to the single count of burglary, a felony of the second degree, in exchange for the dismissal of a second burglary count and an additional charge of receiving stolen property, a fifth-degree felony.
The charges stem from what court records suggest was an organized criminal endeavor that included one or more other participants.
Allen County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched on July 29 of last year to 1740 Napoleon Road in reference to a burglary complaint. Deputies spoke with the female victim who said that shortly after midnight two white males were observed entering her two campers and removing items.
The woman told a detective that a television was removed from her camper and an Xbox One was taken from the camper occupied by her juvenile stepson. Both campers showed signs of having been rummaged through.
The victim provided video surveillance of the incident in which two males are seen walking onto the property and later leaving with items under their arms. Through tips and prior dealings, one of the men was identified as Lee. A family member also identified Lee.
The following day deputies went to a residence Lee was known to frequent and asked the resident there if he would watch the video and possibly identify the second suspect. At that time Paul Schmidt was named as the man pictured with Lee in the video.
Schmidt, 65, of Lima, was arrested later that day and has since been indicted by a grand jury on two counts of burglary.
Lee remained at large for more than a month before he was taken into custody.
On July 31 deputies went to a home in the 1500 block of South Main Street to see if Lee was there. While inside the home they noticed a television matching the description of the one that had been stolen. The female resident admitted that Schmidt had given it to her and that it was the stolen television.
On Aug. 3 investigators interviewed Lee at the sheriff’s office and charged him with the burglary, during which time he said Schmidt and “other individuals” were involved in break-ins throughout the county.
Lee faces a possible prison term of up to eight years when he is sentenced, although prison is not mandatory. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered by the court.