Thursday, June 08, 2000

Pokemon perpetrator pleads out




By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A Mason father caught with $15,000 in stolen Pokemon cards and $5,000 in equipment from Mason Lumber pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving stolen property.

        Keith R. Ertel, 35, shaved a possible six months off his sentence by admitting guilt, Warren County Assistant Prosecutor James Beaton said.

        Mr. Ertel faced up to 18 months in prison had he taken the case to trial and been convicted. The plea agreement reduced the charge to a fifth-degree felony, which carries a maximum of one year in prison.

        Mr. Ertel is expected to return to Warren County Common Pleas Court for sentencing in about a month after a presentence investigation by probation officers. He remains free on a $2,500 bond.

        Mason police said they found more than 8,000 Pokemon cards and other merchandise at Mr. Ertel's West Street home Jan. 31 after responding to a domestic call.

        The items were linked to the theft of $58,000 in merchandise taken in four break-ins since December at Collector's Paradise on U.S. 42, investigators said. Police said they also found knives, tools and other equipment from a January burglary at Mason Lumber. No one has been charged in those burglaries.

       



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