Third suspect sentenced in Eramet thefts

MARIETTA – The last of three suspects in the theft of 15,000 pounds of copper piping from Eramet Marietta was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail.

Jonathan P. Stringer, 32, of 410 Victoria Ave., Parkersburg, said little during the sentencing hearing before Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth. On Feb. 22, he pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony charge of receiving stolen property and agreed to forfeit $992 confiscated from him when he was arrested. In exchange, prosecutors dropped a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence and recommended the six-month sentence.

Stringer had faced a maximum sentence of 18 months.

Stringer’s father attended the hearing and waved goodbye as his son was handcuffed afterward by a Washington County sheriff’s deputy.

Stringer was arrested in February 2012 at the 125 Maranatha Circle, Belpre Township, residence of John Wyatt, 56, who was also arrested along with Richard L. Nolan, 39, of 4843 15th Ave., Parkersburg.

Nolan and an accomplice allegedly used a truck belonging to Wyatt’s girlfriend to steal several tons of lead-encased copper piping from Eramet’s Ohio 7 facility and took it to an attached garage at Wyatt’s home. When the men were arrested, they were believed to be in the process of stripping the material.

County Prosecutor Jim Schneider said Thursday that Stringer was believed to be the accomplice with Nolan but that could not be proven conclusively. So, Stringer was charged with receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence, like Wyatt, who was out of state at the time of the theft.

The money confiscated from Stringer will be used to pay court costs, with the remainder reimbursing the company from whom the material was taken. Schneider said investigators believe the cash was received for selling some of the stolen material.

In March, Wyatt was sentenced to 31 days in jail on a fourth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property. A charge of tampering with evidence was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

A day later, Nolan was sentenced to two concurrent six-month prison terms on a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft and a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering. A third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence was dropped.