Thursday, March 6, 2003

Horse thefts net one-year sentence


Man rustled in Goshen Township

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - A 26-year-old Camden, Ohio man will have to spend the next year in prison for stealing horses from a Goshen Township farm.

Steven L. Hall appeared Tuesday before Common Pleas Judge William Walker.

As part of his sentence, Hall was ordered to pay $1,000 in fines and more than $600 in restitution to the owners of the two horses he stole and eventually sold.

Authorities were led to Hall after discovering that he'd signed his own name on paperwork putting the horses up for auction in Shipshewana, Ind.

Tim Waechter, owner of Princess, a chestnut Arabian mare taken by Hall, said Tuesday he was pleased Hall was sent to prison.

"We wished he would have gotten more jail time, but I think Judge Walker did all he could," Waechter said.

"I think Judge Walker did a good job."

Princess and another chestnut Arabian mare, Rainbow, were stolen from Waechter's farm Nov. 29.

Waechter and his wife, Diane, as well as Terrie Conroy, owner of Rainbow, spent an anxious two weeks before the horses were tracked down.

Princess was found in Bracken County, Ky., while Rainbow was tracked to a family in Edwardsburg, Mich.

"This is a living, breathing being. It was not like stealing a television or a stereo or a car. These horses are very intelligent and they depend on people," Waechter said.

"Nothing has been the same since the thefts occurred. We're concerned about the further safety of our horses and we've taken a lot of extra security measures to ensure this doesn't happen again," he said.

Amee Burton, 33, also of Camden, has pleaded not guilty to charges that she helped in the thefts. Her trial is scheduled for June.

Hall has written prosecutors a letter in the hope of exonerating Burton.

In the letter, he states that he "fully masterminded and executed all of the horse thefts and sales" and that while he borrowed Burton's truck and asked her to attend a horse auction with him, he said she knew nothing about the stolen horses.

Hall is also believed to be responsible for the Dec. 5 theft of two Tennessee Walkers from a farm in Waynesville.

On Monday he was indicted in those thefts.

Both horses have also been returned to their owners.

E-mail mmccain@enquirer.com




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