Miami County judge OKs early release for fake Clark County firefighter

Jeremy Aldrich, recently convicted of forgery, asked a judge for early release. CONTRIBUTED.

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Jeremy Aldrich, recently convicted of forgery, asked a judge for early release. CONTRIBUTED.

TROY – A Miami County judge Friday approved the early release from prison of a Troy man who posed as a firefighter using forged documents.

Jeremy Aldrich, 25, was sentenced in February to eight months in prison after pleading guilty in January to two felony forgery charges. Common Pleas Judge Jeannine Pratt heard Friday from Aldrich’s lawyer, public defender Joe Fulker, and Aldrich, who appeared in court via video from prison.

“I realize I hurt a lot of people. I didn’t realize the bad road I was going down,” Aldrich told Pratt during the hearing. The two and a half months he’s been in prison “makes me realize that I don’t ever want to come back here,” Aldrich said.

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Pratt said Aldrich, who has a wife and three children, submitted a plan to address factors that led to his conviction including mental health issues, had participated in prison programming and had a support system waiting of family, friends and fellow church members.

“This is going to be a long road for you,” Pratt told Aldrich. “Keep in mind the court is watching you.”

The judge suspended the remaining prison time and ordered him to complete five years of community control with conditions. The conditions include getting a job, completing 50 hours’ community service, completing a mental health assessment and any recommended follow-up, attending individual counseling with a certified therapist and his pastor and undergoing a medication assessment.

If Aldrich violates community control, he faces up to one year in prison

“I really appreciate what you are doing for me,” a crying Aldrich told Pratt.

A Troy police officer reported he started checking into Aldrich when he saw a Ford Crown Victoria with red and white flashing lights on the roof while the officer was investigating a wreck on West Main Street near Interstate 75 in November. After more checks, the officer said he was told by a police captain that firefighters had reported seeing the car show up at ambulance calls and that the driver claimed to be with the Springfield Twp. Fire Department in Clark County.

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Police said they were unable to verify any employment by Aldrich by a fire department or any required certifications.

When he arrested later in November police found a firefighter turnout coat, scanner, medical shears, handcuff case, vehicle lock out kit and a BB gun among other items in his car. They said Aldrich admitted to forging the signature of a Clark County fire official to obtain the special license plates. The second forgery charge involved a fake ID.

At the February sentencing Pratt read Aldrich’s criminal record that included juvenile adjudications for domestic violence, theft, identify fraud and adult convictions for inducing panic - a bomb threat in Clark County - and making a false alarm.

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