Gilead man, animal shelter burglar headed to prison


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@delgazette.com



Blankenship and his attorney, Ross Long, at the sentencing hearing Monday.


A Mount Gilead man was sentenced to more than nine years in prison last week in connection with break-ins at animal shelters in Delaware and several other counties.

A Delaware County jury found James Blankenship, 30, guilty of several charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and breaking and entering last Friday.

Blankenship appeared before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley on Monday to be sentenced on 12 felony charges. The charges included one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; eight counts of breaking and entering, fifth-degree felonies; and three counts of safecracking, fourth-degree felonies.

He was found guilty by a jury on Friday evening after a four-day trial in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.

Blankenship, along with Corby Creech, 37, of Cardington, were charged with the offenses after prosecutors said both men broke into animal shelters and other businesses in numerous counties, including Delaware, Ashland, Champaign, Hancock, Hardin, Huron, Knox, Logan, Madison, Marion, Medina, Morrow, Muskingum, Seneca, Union, Washington and Wayne. The pair reportedly stole cash, gift cards, animal medicine and a puppy.

Gormley sentenced Blankenship to seven years in prison for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; 12 months in prison for one breaking and entering charge, to be served concurrent to the seven-year sentence; and 18 months for one safecracking charge, to be served consecutively to the other prison terms.

Gormley also ordered Blankenship to serve 12 months in prison for the other seven breaking and entering charges but specified that those charges will be served concurrent to other charges. Gormley also ordered that the remaining safecracking charges should carry a 18-month prison sentence but also allowed those two charges to be served concurrent to the other charges.

Assistant county prosecutor Douglas Dumolt said that Blankenship has an extensive criminal record and treatment programs and probation have not been effective. Dumolt said that consecutive sentences are “designed for individuals like Mr. Blankenship.”

Gormley also ordered that Blankenship pay $15,450 in restitution to the various shelters.

Blankenship was credited the 47 days he spent in the Delaware County Jail while the case was ongoing.

Creech reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in January and pleaded guilty to nine counts of breaking and entering, fifth-degree felonies; and a charge of safecracking, a fourth-degree felony. He was sentenced to three years in prison by Gormley and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $12,147. Part of the agreement required Creech to testify against Blankenship during his trial.

Blankenship was in the Delaware County Jail Monday awaiting transport to prison.

Blankenship and his attorney, Ross Long, at the sentencing hearing Monday.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2016/05/web1_Blankenship-1.jpgBlankenship and his attorney, Ross Long, at the sentencing hearing Monday.

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@delgazette.com