Beverly man gets jail time for Eagles break-in

A Beverly man who broke into a social club in the village and stole the safe was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in jail and ordered to complete a counseling program.

Robert J. Wells, 32, of 2535 State Route 83, was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 19 on two fifth-degree felony counts, but the sentencing was postponed so the burglary victim-the Fraternal Order of Eagles-could work out a restitution figure.

“They are asking for $700 for a new door and $479.09 for a new safe,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

The figure does not include the approximately $6,400 in cash that Wells reportedly stole by dragging out a safe during the November break-in, said Erb.

“There was cash missing. There has been a change in leadership and they were unable to confirm the exact amount of money taken,” he said.

While the restitution for the stolen cash was not included in the sentencing, the club can pursue the matter in civil court once they decide on an exact figure, said Erb. Wells admitted to authorities that he had used the money for drugs, he added.

“He admitted the money that was stolen was used to buy heroin in Columbus,” said Erb.

Wells’ fingerprints connected him to the breaking and entering. He was arrested in April for the crime and pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to a fifth-degree felony count of theft and a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering.

Because he has a prior felony conviction, Wells was eligible to be sent to prison on the fifth-degree felony charges.

His attorney Nancy Brum recommended counseling through SEPTA, citing his good behavior while on probation in Morgan County.

“I request the court allow Mr. Wells to participate in SEPTA. I do have a letter here that he is eligible for SEPTA’s 150-day program,” said Brum.

Wells also asked that Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane forgo a prison sentence.

“I regret what I did. I was in a bad state of mind. I was on a lot of drugs,” he said.

Wells said he has kicked his drug habit, is catching up on child support payments, and has gained admittance into an electrician’s union.

“I’m just hoping you give me the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

Citing Wells’ apparent success with his community control conditions in Morgan County, Lane ruled that he would allow a community control sanction in the current case.

He also ordered Wells to spend 120 days in the Washington County Jail and take the first available slot at SEPTA after 75 days.

He ordered Wells to attend either an Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting once a week for at least a year.

Wells has three years to pay the $1,179.09 in restitution. A violation of any of the terms would result in Wells being sent to prison for the one year maximum, said Lane.