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Grand jury indicts couple in theft, insurance fraud



Published: Thu, November 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



A corrections officer said county jail inmates dissatisfied with a meal began throwing food.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

LISBON -- An East Liverpool couple charged with insurance fraud and theft, a corrections employee arrested in a drug-smuggling probe, and a county jail inmate charged with assault of a corrections officer are among those recently indicted by a Columbiana County grand jury.

Secret indictments on David, 56, and Eileen J. Mellinger, 53, both of John Avenue, East Liverpool, were made public Wednesday. Both are charged with insurance fraud and theft.

According to the indictment, the grand jury found they showed purpose to defraud and steal property of $100,000 or more between Aug. 18, 2003, and April 25, 2005, from Auto Owners Insurance Co.

Gary J. Ludt, 36, of Bergholz was one of two men charged last month in a drug-smuggling probe by the Columbiana County Drug Task Force at the county jail.

A grand jury indicted Ludt on two counts of illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto grounds of a detention facility.

Brian McLaughlin, director of the county's drug task force, said Ludt, a jail complex corrections officer -- a civilian position -- was arrested outside the jail after marijuana was left on top of a tire on Ludt's vehicle. Ludt reportedly got the drug, got into his car and moved it closer to the jail. He got out and was walking to the jail when he was arrested.

McLaughlin said authorities have been investigating drug smuggling and tobacco smuggling at the jail for about two months.

Related to jail events

The grand jury also indicted Eric L. Jordan, 28 of West Pidgeon Road, Perry Township, on charges related to events at the Columbiana County Jail. Jordan is charged with escape, assault and aggravated riot.

According to the indictment, Jordan attempted to escape Sept. 21. He is charged with assault and aggravated riot in the assault of a corrections officer and participation with four or more others in disorderly conduct at the jail Oct. 6.

Sgt. Chris McLaughlin, a corrections officer at the jail, said inmates in two pod housing units began throwing food because they were unhappy with the food being served at the afternoon meal that day.

He said Jordan was among the six or seven key participants of the 24 inmates in the two pods.

McLauglin said Jordan's escape charge Sept. 21 stems from his attempt to escape before his arrival at the jail. McLaughlin said Jordan attempted to escape law enforcement officers who served the warrant for his arrest.

Other indictments

The grand jury also indicted the following:

Justin D. Adams, 18, state Route 14, East Palestine; two counts breaking and entering, tampering with coin machines, possessing criminal tools, vandalism.

Benjamin A. Curl, 18, Lipply Road, Columbiana; two counts breaking and entering, tampering with coin machines, possessing criminal tools, trafficking in drugs, vandalism.

Alfred B. Jackson, 51, Jefferson Street Southwest, Warren; receiving stolen property.

Charles W. Dicks, 21, Baum Street, East Liverpool; improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon.

Karl L. Wyant, 19, Winona Road, Salem; improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle; carrying a concealed weapon.

Richard E. Ginter III, 27, Euclid Avenue, Minerva; breaking and entering.

Terry L. Adams Jr., 30, Elkton Road, Lisbon; burglary, assault.

Kenneth R. Taylor, 28, Alpha Street, East Liverpool; felonious assault.




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