WARSAW — A Pierceton man will be relying heavily on the compassion of officials in Whitley County in order to avoid several years behind bars.
Steven A. Waid, Jr., 6687 E. Old Road 30, Pierceton, was charged with one count of theft, a Class D felony from a case in 2011, as well as theft, a level 6 felony; two counts of burglary, a level 4 felony; six counts of auto theft, a level 6 felony; and resisting law enforcement, a level 6 felony, all stemming from two other cases in Kosciusko County.
Waid was accused and pleaded guilty to stealing tools from a job site where he worked in December of 2011. Police reported that a woman who told police she was Waid’s girlfriend took several items reported stolen from a construction site to Paradise Pawn in Warsaw. The woman told police that Waid had given her those items and asked her to pawn them for him. She said he told her his employer had given him the items, which included a laminate trimmer, an air compressor, a utility winch, a drywall screw gun and an air nailer.
Between Aug. 11 and Aug. 16, 2017, police said multiple burglaries and auto thefts had occurred. In several of the cases, stolen vehicles from previous thefts were left at the scenes of the more recent heists. A Kosciusko County sheriff’s deputy observed Waid pumping gas in one of the reported stolen vehicles.
Police said Waid fled the scene in the vehicle without removing the gas nozzle from the vehicle’s gas tank, causing the gas pump hose to break. During the chase, the vehicle Waid was driving struck a wooden privacy fence and finally a metal gate, which disabled the vehicle and allowed police to apprehend Waid.
In Kosciusko County Circuit Court Tuesday, Sept. 11, Waid told Special Judge Michael Reed that he was hoping to get sentenced to work release. He reported that officers in Whitley County who coordinate that county’s community corrections program are strong advocates on his behalf. His attorney, Nicos Nakos, told Reed that Waid has a screening appointment in Whitley County on Sept. 20, to see if he qualifies for work release in that county.
Reed sentenced Waid to a total of 11 and one-half years to the Indiana Department of Corrections for all of the cases and charges but suspended four of those years in favor of probation. For the time to be served, he said he would be agreeable to work release if Waid is approved in Whitley County. Prosecutor Dan Hampton saw a positive element to that possibility as well.
“I would appreciate the opportunity to get restitution for the victims that way,” said Hampton. According to part of the plea agreement, as read by Reed, two victims submitted affidavits for insurance deductible payments of $250 and $500 respectively. The owner of the tools reported being out $8,000, but has not yet submitted an affidavit, Hampton said.
“If you can serve that in Whitley County Work Release, I’ll OK that,” said Reed to Waid. “If not, you’ll have to serve it in the department of corrections.”
Waid said that substance abuse issues had helped to contribute to his bad decisions.
“I’m not a bad guy,” said Waid. “But, I just messed up. I realized I didn’t know how to deal with stress, with sobriety and with society.”
Reed told Waid and his attorney that if he’s not approved for work release, Reed would approve his enrollment into Recovery While Incarcerated. Waid also received 240 days of credit for time already served.