Dad punished for hiding money stolen by his son

A Marietta man who hid money his son stole from the American Legion in Marietta pleaded guilty Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to 11 months in prison.

Randy Messer Jr., 42, of 610 1/2 Second St., is currently serving a one year prison sentence at Lake Erie Correctional Institution for a multitude of breaking and entering and other charges that occurred in Lorain County.

Messer’s son, Dustin W. Slagle, 21, broke into the Legion sometime overnight May 1 by throwing a cinder block through a glass door. Slagle stole more than $1,000 from an ATM and two lock boxes in the building and returned to Messer’s home with the money, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb.

“(Messer) had shoved some money in the couch quickly when the cops came to talk to him,” said Erb.

Stolen cash was also found in the home’s rain gutters.

Messer said he “freaked out” when the cops showed up, but had been intending to report his son’s crime.

“I beat my son up and took (the money) from him. My goal was to turn it in,” he told Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane when asked if he had known the money was stolen.

In exchange for Messer pleading guilty to a fifth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property, the state agreed to recommend a 10- or 11-month prison sentence-just shy of the one-year maximum.

Messer was eligible for prison because he is already serving time there on 11 fifth-degree felonies committed in Lorain County. They include a receiving stolen property charge, seven breaking and entering charges, two tampering with coin machine charges, and a misuse of credit cards charge.

The one-year prison sentence on those charges is set to expire July 23. Because Lane did not specify that the new 11-month sentence will start after that one, the sentences will run concurrently.

No restitution was ordered for Messer. The money found at his home was recovered.

“Ancillary restitution related to the breaking and entering part was taken care of with Dustin Slagle’s case,” said Erb.

Slagle, a former employee of the Legion, pleaded guilty in October to a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence and four fifth-degree felonies-theft, breaking and entering, vandalism and possession of criminal tools-in the case. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Washington County Jail.

At a later date, he was ordered to pay $2,808.50 in restitution for various missing and damaged property.

Messer also received 130 days credit on the charge for time spent in the local jail awaiting trial.