Salem man sentenced for burglary, safecracking

LISBON – Robert Bembry, the Salem man who stole $590 from a safe at the Guilford Lake Grille in 2012, pleaded guilty to both burglary and safecracking charges in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court this week.

“I’m so sorry,” Bembry said prior to sentencing. “I think if I said it 100 times, I don’t think it would be enough.”

Bemby, who claims to have had addiction problems his entire life, apologized for trouble he may have caused his family, his friends and even time he has taken from the court. He asked Judge C. Ashley Pike to consider mandating a drug treatment program for him and offered he would like to work with “wayward youths” or adults facing similar issues due to addiction.

“My whole life has been a failure,” Bembry said. “Anything good that I’ve done I then messed it up by backsliding.”

Bembry said he spoke to his mother about two weeks before she died in July and she told him “let your conscience be your guide.” He said at this point he believes his mother is watching him.

In a prior 2012 case, Bembry was charged with two counts of burglary and one count of attempted safecracking for breaking into the offices of two Dollar General stores on two different dates. According to Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart, Bembry had been indicted with those charges and he had been released on bond in Judge Scott Washam’s court. Bembry had reportedly made certain promises in exchange for his release and a recommendation was going to be made for a three-year sentence.

However, shortly after his release, Bembry went to the Guilford Lake Grille and had a conversation with a man at the bar, who had told deputies Bembry appeared to be under the influence of drugs. At some point during the night, Bembry excused himself to go to the restroom, went into the establishment’s office and took $590 from an unlocked safe, stuffing it into his waistband. The theft was caught on surveillance video.

Bemby’s attorney, Kelly Linger insisted the 10-year sentence Washam eventually gave Bembry in the other case was due to him breaking his bond by committing this crime. Therefore, she argued the six-year sentence being recommended in the latest case by Weikart should be concurrent.

Linger also pointed out Bembry’s record is not due to any violent offense. He has broken into places and taken things, mostly when no one was around.

Pike agreed to run the six-year sentence he imposed concurrently with the 10 years Bembry is already serving. He also offered to recommend Bembry be evaluated while in prison for any drug-treatment programs available. Finally, Bembry was ordered to make $590 restitution to the Guilford Lake Grille within 90 days of his release from prison.