Former GM employee gets probation

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


The former hourly employee at General Motors Lordstown plant who was convicted of receiving property stolen from the automaker will spend the next five years on probation.

Dennis J. Bruner, 41, of Wolcott Drive, Boardman, appeared Tuesday before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for sentencing on one count of felony receiving stolen property. He had pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this year.

Bruner’s wife, Jaimie E. Bruner, 33, of the same address, also had been indicted, but charges against her were dismissed in light of her husband’s guilty plea.

Bruner faced a maximum of 18 months in prison on the fourth-degree felony charge.

Police seized more than 4,400 items from the Bruner home earlier this year. The items included all types of car emblems made for Pontiac G5s and Chevrolet Cobalts, including “SS,” “G5,” “turbocharged,” “Pontiac,” “GM Performance” and the Chevrolet “Bow Tie.”

Also found were tire-pressure sensors, wheel center-caps for Pontiac and Chevrolet, gas caps and an engine-control module.

Many items stolen by Bruner from the plant were sold on eBay. Authorities believe the couple made thousands of dollars on the illegal sales.

No one spoke on behalf of General Motors during the sentencing.

J. Michael Thompson, an assistant county prosecutor, said the prosecutor’s office, in the plea agreement, agreed to a recommendation of probation for Bruner based on several conditions. Bruner would be required to quit his job at General Motors, pay $5,000 in restitution, and return the remaining stolen merchandise found in his home.

“He has complied with all the stipulations in the Rule 11 agreement, and we do recommend probation,” said Thompson.

Atty. J. Gerald Ingram, representing Bruner, asked the court to honor the recommended sentence of probation.

“He has no juvenile record and no adult record. He has a wife and three children. ... He supports all of those children. He has neither caused or intended physical harm. There is zero chance of recidivism in this case,” said Ingram.

Judge Krichbaum took issue with Ingram’s assertion that there is zero chance of recidivism because of the high volume of items taken from the plant and found in Bruner’s home.

“The difficulty in a case like this is that the defendant has committed crimes for which he should be significantly punished. Punishment is in the eye of the beholder,” said Krichbaum. “The difficulty is the victim has the choice of having the person go to jail and receive no restitution or receive restitution and accept a community-control sanction.”

Judge Krichbaum pointed out that Bruner has paid $5,000 in restitution and lost his job as part of his punishment.

The judge ultimately sentenced Bruner to five years’ probation. He informed Bruner that if he violates any terms of his probation he will serve the full 18-month sentence.

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