Early’s tool theft leads to probation

A former employee of Early’s Carpet, the Amissville flooring company, received a two-year probationary period for grand larceny involving the theft of a heat welder in Rappahannock County Circuit Court Friday afternoon (July 12).

Michael S. Barthlow, a 30-year-old Ocklawaha, Fla. resident, was indicted here last November for stealing a heat welder and other tools from the toolbox of Solon Betts, his former boss at Early’s Carpet. Barthlow was found guilty of the theft after a three-hour trial on April 23.

Friday afternoon, Barthlow’s defense counsel Amanda Zadrozny asked Judge Thomas Fortkort to consider a suspended jail sentence, in light of the facts that Barthlow has no prior criminal record and “a number . . . of the tools have been returned.”

“This is the kind of person who can succeed on probation,” Zadrozny offered. “He should be given the opportunity to do so.”

“Have you thought about this crime?” asked Fortkort, before sentencing. “And have you ever done anything more stupid in your life?” Fortkort continued, eliciting a quiet, “No, your honor,” from Barthlow.

“You were probably angry . . . [but] you’ve thrown away at least 90 days of your life . . . and now you’re saddled with a felony conviction for the rest of your life over something foolish.”

Forkort then sentenced Barthlow to three years in jail (all suspended) and two years of supervised probation. Barthlow must also pay $1,000 in restitution to Early’s Carpet within 14 months.

Fortkort also allowed Barthlow’s probation to be transferred to Florida, where he and his expectant wife now reside.

In other Friday court proceedings, a young Castleton man pleaded guilty to one count each of possession and manufacturing marijuana.

Davis Winfield Eisenmann, 23, was originally charged with three counts of possession – for oxycodone, a firearm and marijuana – and two counts of manufacturing marijuana; as part of a plea agreement, the latter two possession charges and one manufacturing charge were dropped.

Summarizing evidence for the court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff said that Eisenmann robbed a pharmacy in Prince William County on Aug. 1, 2012, taking several items, including oxycodone, which is classified as a controlled substance.

Goff said that the sheriff’s departments of Prince William and Rappahannock counties searched Eisenmann’s home on Aug. 5, finding an indoor marijuana growing operation in the basement. Police collected 21 marijuana plants, as well as several small bags throughout the house.

The stolen oxycodone, Goff said, was found in the kitchen, while a 9mm pistol was discovered in Eisenmann’s bedroom.

Eisenmann’s sentencing date is scheduled for Sept. 24.