GALLIPOLIS — A former newspaper courier, charged with the theft of hundreds of newspapers last month, recently entered a guilty plea in the Gallipolis Municipal Court.
Paul L. Donohew, 46, Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va., pleaded guilty to petty theft, a first degree misdemeanor, and the use of slugs (metal discs used to open vending machines), a second degree misdemeanor, in the municipal court on Monday and was sentenced to three days in jail and was ordered to pay $860 in restitution.
Donohew was arrested by officers with the Gallipolis Police Department during the early morning hours of Sunday, November 4 after a van traveling to news racks throughout the northern portion of Gallipolis was stopped by an officer.
Prior to the stop, the police department had received information about an individual alleged to have been stealing newspapers each weekend throughout Gallipolis and, at approximately 1:30 a.m., an officer patrolling Gallipolis observed a Dodge Caravan pulling out of a parking spot beside a newspaper vending rack at the Speed Queen laundromat on Eastern Avenue.
After following the vehicle north to the Silver Bridge Plaza, the officer observed the vehicle pull up beside a news rack at the Big Lots store.
The officer observed a male exit the vehicle, open the news rack, collect all of the papers within it and place them on the passenger seat of the van.
After approaching the male, later identified as Donohew, and advising him of his rights, the officer began questioning the suspect.
According to the police report, the suspect initially denied all allegations, and, later, he told the officer that he had been stealing newspapers to collect coupons so it would be easier to purchase food for his family.
Donohew was transported to the Gallipolis Police Department where an interview was conducted. He was later released and a summons was issued for his appearance in the municipal court.
Donohew had allegedly been stealing Sunday newspapers in the Gallipolis area and Saturday editions of the Point Pleasant Register in Mason County every weekend for an approximately six-week period prior to November 4.
At the time of his apprehension, he was in the possession of 364 copies of the Sunday Times-Sentinel and 264 copies of the Point Pleasant Register.
During Monday’s hearing before Judge Margaret Evans, Donohew was further sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay a $25 fine and court costs.
In lieu of his three days in jail, Donohew can serve 10 days of house arrest.