Dayton man who broke into jewelry stores with theft ring sent to prison

A Dayton man who a Miami County judge said has made a career out of stealing and already had served 11 prison sentences was ordered Tuesday, to spend the next 6½ years in prison for breaking into jewelry stores.

Kevin Ashley, 47, pleaded guilty in April to eight felony charges while another 10 charges were dismissed. The charges included breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, grand theft, safecracking and possessing a weapon while under disability for a previous criminal conviction.

He was one of five people in what county prosecutor Tony Kendell called “a ring of serial thieves” that hit jewelry stores and other businesses in 2017 and 2018 in southwest Ohio and beyond.

Common Pleas Court Judge Stacy Wall said Ashley had blueprints to buildings and planned his crimes, often entering a building through a hole in the roof. She pointed to a presentence report in which he was described “as almost a pro,” adding, “This is a career for you.” Ashley’s last reported employment was in the late 1990s, she said.

Ashley apologized for the crimes and said he would work on his chemical dependency while in prison. He said he also planned to get a college degree so he could “better” his life.

He was ordered to pay more than $150,000 restitution, including $147,556 to Kay Jewelers in East Liverpool, Ohio, and $3,012 to Check into Cash in Troy.

A prison term of 5½ years was recommended by prosecutors, but Wall tacked on another year after reviewing Ashley’s criminal record, number of prison sentences and the serious economic harm suffered by victims of the crimes.

Ashley will receive credit for 474 days served in jail since his arrest in 2019.

Miami County prosecutors said the crime targets included several jewelry stores including Harris Jewelers in Troy in October 2017 when property valued at more than $150,000 was stolen.

Among other victims were Direct Jewelry Outlet, also known as Rock Jewelers on Springboro Pike, Dayton; Bacovin Jewelers in Hamilton; Kromholtz Jewelers in Montgomery; Kamal’s Gold Center in Dayton; Mikado Japanese Restaurant, Piqua; Advance America, Piqua; Check into Cash, Troy; and The Home Depot on Springboro Pike, Dayton.

Others charged in the case were Jesse Spurlock, 45, of Tipp City. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in February. He pleaded to 15 charges but continued to deny involvement in the ring despite DNA evidence.

Kenneth Evans, 41, of Dayton, was sentenced in December to 18 months in prison after pleading to two charges. A former Troy woman now of Dayton is awaiting sentencing. Michele Gue, 48, pleaded to five charges.

Charges against Markus Gate, 36, of Dayton were dismissed by prosecutors last year.

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