Defendant flees, but is convicted in tractor theft

November 20, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A 25-year-old Baltimore man left the courtroom last week during a brief recess and never returned to his trial on charges steming from the foiled theft of a tractor two years ago in Churchville.

Circuit Judge Stephen M. Waldron revoked bond and issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Benjamin Aaron Herbert. The judge also continued with the trial and convicted the absent defendant.

The theft occurred at 2:30 a.m. July 14, 1992, behind Walter G. Coale Inc., a tractor outlet near Routes 22 and 136.

L Herbert was one of three Baltimore men arrested and charged.

"A witness got suspicious of a rental truck parked behind the business there and called police," prosecutor Michael Sanger said.

Police said the three men -- Herbert, Samuel Hance, 49, and Joseph Spears, 45 -- were caught in the area. Police said the $11,000 Ford tractor was recovered from behind the rental truck, on which it was about to be loaded.

Herbert's fingerprints were found on the rental truck's door handle, a key in his pocket fit a padlock found in the truck and his telephone number had been used on the contract with the truck rental agency, Mr. Sanger said.

Herbert faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison for the conviction, and will be returned to court for sentencing if he is arrested on the warrant, Mr. Sanger said.

Hance was sentenced to 12 years in state prison after a jury convicted him of theft in 1993 and Spears received a 15-year sentence with all but nine months suspended after pleading guilty to the same charge, court records showed.

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