Break-ins send New Springfield man to prison

LISBON — A New Springfield man who broke into two Unity Township buildings in May 2018 was sentenced to 17 months in prison on Monday by Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Bickerton.

Dale L. Lowe, 28, last known address Unity Road, was sentenced on two counts of breaking and entering. One was for breaking into the home of Shelly McLaughlin, Dickson Road, Petersburg, on May 6, 2018. Lowe stole a saw, tool set and weedwacker from the garage.

The second charge was for breaking into the Swift Mart, state Route 14, Unity Township. Lowe and two others were responsible for throwing a piece of concrete through the window and stealing cigarettes.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones, who recommended the 17-month sentence, pointed out Lowe has many prior felony level offenses and has walked away from drug treatment opportunities in the past. She noted while he was on bond in this case, he ended up in jail in Mahoning County on another drug-related offense.

Defense attorney Paul Conn agreed Lowe has a long history and said it all stems back to his original “poor decision to sample drugs.” Conn said while Bickerton can sentence Lowe to prison, it will not stop the underlying problem which caused him to walk away from treatment.

“The need for his fix was even bigger than his need to complete treatment,” Conn said.

Bickerton noted Lowe has been through drug court, attempted a treatment program and been to prison.

“You’ve run the gauntlet of what the criminal justice system can do to keep you from using drugs,” Bickerton said, adding even though his crimes are mostly due to drug addiction, he still has to take responsibility for those things he does.

Bickerton also pointed out his records show he has had 14 or 15 overdoses in the past 10 years and she said he is “lucky” to be standing there.

Lowe, who admitted he has made some “really stupid decisions,” told Bickerton he believes he is ready to start making the right choices. He said at nearly 30 years of age he now realizes he should have taken advantage of some of the programs and opportunities he was given.

He said his wife, who was in the courtroom, barely knows him after five years of marriage because of his drug use and consequences.

“If it wasn’t for her background in nursing, I wouldn’t be here today,” Lowe said.

Bickerton pointed out Lowe owes her and needs to be the husband she deserves, a statement Lowe agreed with “absolutely.”

Lowe, who already has a credit of 254 days served in jail, was ordered to pay $370 in restitution after his release from prison.