Woman sentenced in crime spree

MARIETTA – A Lowell woman was sentenced Monday to 90 days in the Washington County Jail for storing property that her husband and two others stole during an August 2012 crime spree that stretched from Lowell to New Matamoras.

Susan E. Knotts, 25, of 233 Main St. silently clutched her blue Bible as she was sentenced on a fourth-degree felony charge of receiving stolen property to which she pleaded guilty July 1.

Her husband, Steven E. Knotts, 25, also of 233 Main St., was sentenced June 7 to spend five years in prison for his role in the Aug. 17 thefts that resulted in around $15,000 worth of items being taken from a half dozen homes and businesses.

Typically receiving stolen property is a fifth-degree felony; however, the amount of items Susan was hiding bumped the offense to a more serious degree, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham.

“It was an F4 because of the value of the items. There were six victims – ones in New Matamoras and Lowell,” said Graham.

Also charged in the breaking and enterings and thefts were a 17-year-old male and Allen J. Grigg, also known as Anthony Johnson, 20, of 1280 Cedar Ridge Road, Lowell.

Steven Knotts, Grigg and the juvenile reportedly broke into two Lowell homes and a Lowell business, Jerry’s Auto Body, and stole several items that night, police said. They also stole items from outside two other Lowell homes before heading to New Matamoras where they broke into another home at 567 Upper Archers Fork Road.

The New Matamoras house burned to the ground that night, resulting in second-degree felony charges of aggravated arson for the three, and a second-degree felony charge of complicity to aggravated arson for Susan Knotts.

However, the arson charges were dropped because prosecutors could not prove the circumstances of the blaze, said Graham.

The juvenile was charged in Washington County Juvenile Court and has been sent to the Ohio Department of Youth Services. Grigg’s case is pending, said Graham.

Susan Knotts had originally been indicted on 12 complicity charges that mirrored the charges brought against her husband and Grigg. In addition to the complicity to aggravated arson, she had also been indicted on complicity in three third-degree felony counts of burglary, two fourth-degree felony counts of theft, two fifth-degree felony counts of breaking and entering, one fifth-degree felony count of theft and three first-degree misdemeanor counts of theft.

However, she was allowed to plead to the single receiving stolen property charge because it best fit what prosecutors could prove, said Graham.

“This seemed like the better charge because it fit. We could prove that the stuff was at her house and that she knew it was stolen,” she said.

By the time officers questioned Steven Knotts, Grigg and the juvenile about the thefts, the items had been moved to a wooded area on Ogles Ridge Road in Noble County where they had been hidden under tarps and protected by booby-traps.

Most of the stolen items were recovered, and Washington County Common Pleas Judge Randall Burnworth noted that no restitution was requested.

He did order Susan to forfeit any interest she had in her husband’s Jeep Cherokee, which was used during the crimes.

“That Jeep is titled to her husband. She raises no objection to that,” said Susan’s attorney, Joe Brockwell.

Three firearms found in the vehicle were forfeited.

In addition to local jail time, Susan Knotts was sentenced to three years of community control and will be required to undergo evaluation for the court’s “Thinking For A Change” program, a cognitive behavioral change program developed by The National Institute of Corrections.