Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Muskingum
Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee D. MICHAEL HADDOX PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
GERALD V. ANDERSON II ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR.
Defendant-Appellant ERIC J. ALLEN THE LAW OFFICE of ERIC J.
John W. Wise, P. J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Craig R.
Defendant-appellant Sabin J. Sowers appeals his conviction on
one count of receiving stolen property entered in the
Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas following a jury
Plaintiff-appellee is the State of Ohio.
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
The relevant facts and procedural history are as follows:
On March 13, 2017, Ronald Scurlock noticed that large truck
batteries were missing from pallets, as well as from various
vehicles in and outside of the buildings on the premises of a
business he owns in Trinway, Ohio. On March 14, 2017, he
noticed more batteries missing. Scurlock started calling
local scrapyards in search of the batteries. When he spoke
with Fred Polk of Polk's Scrapyard he learned that
someone had brought in a large quantity of batteries of the
type that Scurlock reported stolen. Scurlock went to
Polk's to verify if they were his batteries and to find
out who had brought the batteries in. Polk informed Scurlock
that two males in a truck brought in a truck bed full of
batteries. Polk said that he thought it was suspicious that
men had this many large truck batteries. Polk said that
because he was suspicious, he unloaded the batteries onto
their own pallet and set them aside. Polk stated that
Appellant Sabin J. Sowers provided his ID and signed the
receipt for payment for scrapping the batteries. Polk paid
Appellant $498.00 for 1, 780 lbs of batteries. Polk's has
video surveillance of Appellant weighing the truck in and
weighing it out after unloading the batteries.
Scurlock said he was able to confirm that the batteries were
his based on the quantity and types. He also had batteries
cut from his vehicles, instead of being disconnected, and
there was a battery that still had cables connected to the
battery but with the wire cut that would have attached to the
A deputy arrived and took a report, inventoried the types of
batteries, the quantities, and the value of each battery
Appellant had brought into Polk's. A surveillance video
showed that the person who brought in the batteries drove a
black Ford Ranger with a distinct sticker on the tailgate.
Polk would not divulge the name of the person who brought in
the batteries, but he indicated to Scurlock that the person
came from up north. Scurlock interpreted that to mean
Dresden, a small conjoining village to Trinway. Based on this
information, Scurlock drove around Dresden looking for the
truck, which he found parked outside Appellant's
apartment. Inside the truck bed was an additional load of
batteries. Scurlock went to the Dresden Police Station and
asked Chief Caldwell to return with him, showing the Chief
the truck full of batteries.
Chief Caldwell was familiar with the truck, the residence,
Appellant, and Appellant's co-defendant, Shawn King. He
knew that the truck belonged to Shawn King's brother, who
was incarcerated at the time, and he knew that Shawn King had
been using the truck. He also had personally seen Shawn King
and Appellant driving around in that truck multiple times,
and knew that Shawn King was living with Appellant. He also
knew that Appellant lived at the apartment where the truck
was parked. Chief Caldwell had Scurlock leave the premises
and had called other officers to respond to the scene. While
at the scene, Shawn King exited Appellant's residence to
approach the truck. Inside the truck were many batteries, the
same type as those stolen from Scurlock's business and
scrapped at Polk's.
On or about April 5, 2017, Sabin J. Sowers,
Defendant-Appellant ("Appellant"), was indicted on
one count of Receiving Stolen Property ($1, 000 - $7, 500),
in violation of R.C. §2913.51 (A), a felony of the fifth