Man gets 59 months in prison in theft case
By Peter H. Milliken
A 42-year-old man has been sentenced to four years and 11 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to 15 counts of theft, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of burglary.
The 42-year-old woman he lived with on Riley Avenue in Struthers, his co-defendant, was sentenced to three years of probation after she pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of burglary.
Timothy A. Esposito drew the prison time, and Tara J. Meta drew the probation sentence Thursday from Judge Lou A. D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
The prosecution agreed to recommend probation for Meta with completion of the in-house rehabilitation program at the Community Corrections Association and with her agreement to testify truthfully against Esposito had he gone to trial.
Meta, who now lives in Boardman, already has completed the CCA program.
The prosecution recommended six years in prison for Esposito, who pleaded guilty nine days after Meta.
Jennifer Paris, an assistant county prosecutor, told the judge the prosecution would have been unable to convict Esposito without Meta’s cooperation.
Meta “is gainfully employed,” has reinstated her driver’s license, and is “well on her way to continuing to lead” a drug-free, sober and productive life, Meta’s lawyer, Steve Maszczak, told the judge.
“This is what I would consider a success case, and we don’t see too many of these,” Maszczak added.
“This struggle that you have is a daily struggle, every single day of the rest of your life, and the success you have today determines whether you wake up tomorrow,” the judge said of Meta’s road to recovery.
Esposito and Meta were charged Dec. 30, 2014, in a 72-count indictment that accused them of stealing from cars and houses and other structures, most of which were unlocked.
The crimes occurred during August, September and October 2014, mostly in Poland Township.
The prosecution dropped most of the counts in the indictment in the plea deals with Esposito and Meta.
Meta’s last previous criminal charge was in 2003. She told the judge she was sober for 14 years before she met and moved in with Esposito.
She said she then relapsed into drug addiction. She and Esposito sold the stolen items to support their drug habits.
Judge D’Apolito told Meta she and Esposito will have to make restitution to their victims, and he warned Meta that he’ll send her to jail, and possibly prison, if she violates terms of her probation.
Meta, who has two children, age 7 and 25, and two grandchildren, said she is three semesters short of a bachelor’s degree in business at Youngstown State University.