Columbiana man pleads guilty to theft of wire

LISBON – Michael Nagel Jr., 29, Brenda Lane, Columbiana, who was arraigned only last week in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, decided to plead guilty to both charges of theft and criminal damaging on Thursday.

He requested immediate sentencing and was given 10 months in prison by Judge Scott Washam. However, Nagel has credit for 84 days already served due to being incarcerated off and on since October.

Nagel was charged with theft and criminal damaging for taking 68 feet of copper wire from the Fitzpatrick Avenue substation in Columbiana. Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble pointed out Columbiana police had video of Nagel going under a fence from an adjacent yard carrying tools to cut the wire and then taking it.

According to Gamble, Nagel has a long history of substance abuse starting when he was a minor. Now in his late 20s, Nagel has a list of previous misdemeanor convictions, including theft, resisting arrest, receiving stolen property and drug paraphernalia.

He also had one prior felony conviction for receiving stolen property in 2008. The charge was for his part in the disappearance of a sculpture in front of the Columbiana Public Library, which was sold at a scrap yard a day after it disappeared. The sculpture depicting two children reading on a bench was sold to the scrap yard for $331, but court documents said it was valued at $14,485. Nagel had hauled the stolen sculpture in the back of his

mother’s SUV, according to court documents. He was sentenced to prison for 10 months after entering a guilty plea to that charge.

According to Gamble, most police departments keep track of how often they have contact with an individual. Nagel has 45 separate incidents noted in Columbiana’s computer system, including an assault charge and two counts of resisting arrest for which he is currently serving 175 days for at the county jail. That charge resulted when he attacked another man on the street in Columbiana in December while out on bail. The new jail time will be concurrent.

Nagel’s defense attorney, Jennifer Gorby, admitted Nagel has a substance abuse issue and does not deny he has had a past criminal history. He came to her with the idea of pleading out with immediate sentencing on Thursday, when he was there only to appear for a scheduling hearing.

“I apologize to the court, my community and my family,” Nagel said, adding he has been battling with the “monster” of addiction.

Washam took Gamble’s recommendation of 10 months, although Nagel faced up to 12 months for the theft charge and up to 90 days in jail for the criminal damaging misdemeanor charge.