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10-30-2003, 05:04 PM
Youth sentenced for pharmacy break-in
By Tammy Wilkinson Of The Star Courier

TOULON - A 16-year-old boy from Rome was sentenced to juvenile prison after pleading guilty to charges from a burglary Sept. 25 at Bradford Pharmacy.

The juvenile and Jonathan M. Fletcher of Chillicothe and Dustin A. Wunder of Sparland, both 18, were arrested for the early-morning burglary.

Wunder and the minor were apprehended inside the business by Bradford police and Stark County Sheriff's deputies. Fletcher fled and was apprehended the next morning.

At a juvenile hearing in Stark County Circuit Court before Judge Stuart Borden, the minor, who had been in the Peoria County Detention Center, was represented by public defender Tom Sheets of Princeville.

The youth testified that he and two buddies decided to break into the pharmacy to steal drugs to support his substance addiction.

He said he was under the influence at the time, having taken 16 "DXM" pills.

The teen-ager admitted he had a problem with substance abuse and asked to be spared from incarceration and admitted to a treatment program in Peoria.

At the time of the arrest the minor was on probation in Peoria County from a previous offense.

Stark County State's Attorney Jim Owens argued against the minor's release, saying the youth had twice failed treatment attempts.

Owens also said the juvenile had quit school against his probation conditions, and was arrested for a curfew violation in Peoria County on July 25.

Sheets said the minor realized he suffered from a problem and was ready to admit to it, and that the period of incarceration had improved the young man's attitude.

After listening to the recommendations, Borden handed sentenced the defendant to a period of incarceration not to go beyond his 19th birthday. The minor was expected to be transported to a facility in St. Charles.

"In reviewing the minor's past records and in reviewing the failed attempts in the past to get him treatments which have failed I think the defendant needs to be sentenced for the protection of the public," said Borden.

Borden also told the minor about the specialized personnel on staff at the St. Charles facility which would be made available to him.

Borden is to review the youth's case in 90 days.

Fletcher and Wunder have been released on bond and are awaiting trial dates in Stark County court.