The three Middletown residents who allegedly broke into a sporting goods store and stole numerous guns had their cases bound over to the Butler County Grand Jury.
One of the three, John Johnson, 32 — charged with theft, theft of firearms and breaking and entering into Roberson’s Sporting Goods in Madison Twp. on Jan. 28 — waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court. His attorney, Chris Atkins, asked Judge James Sherron to lower his client’s $35,000 bond. Instead, Sherron raised it to $60,000 and allowed Johnson to post 10 percent if he were able.
Sherron sent the cases involving Simuel Albin Jr., 25, charged with theft, theft of firearms and breaking and entering, and Natasha Harrison, 25, charged with complicity to theft, complicity to breaking and entering and for four warrants, to the Grand Jury.
Albin’s bond remained at $100,000 and Harrison’s $40,000. She will appear again this week on falsification and drug paraphernalia charges, according to court records.
Detective Joe Nerlinger from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office testified during the preliminary hearing that witnesses called police and reported that two men were seen leaving Roberson’s around 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 28 with “a handful” of guns. Nerlinger said the two men were wearing masks and gloves at the time of the alleged theft.
Harrison told police that Albin taped over the license plates of his black Saturn that she used as a get-away car. But after she heard the alarm inside the store, Harrison allegedly drove off, leaving Albin and Johnson behind, police said.
At least two people called 911 to report seeing two men leaving the store with guns, Nerlinger said.
Harrison was arrested a short time later, and Albin and Johnson were apprehended the same day, police said. After Johnson was arrested, police issued a search warrant and found Albin hiding in a Middletown apartment, Nerlinger said. He said all three suspects were taken into custody without incident.
Nerlinger said police recovered about seven weapons, though they believe about 15 were stolen. Informants told police the guns were going to be sold in the area.
When questioned by police after his arrest, Albin told them he “had nothing to do” with the gun theft, Nerlinger testified.
Albin and Johnson allegedly used a hammer to smash out a glass window and break into Roberson’s Sporting Goods.