PRESTONSBURG — Five men arrested last month for charges stemming from a burglary spree in Auxier could see the charges they face significantly reduced, after being ordered to complete a substance abuse program.
Three people were arrested on felony theft and burglary charges, for allegedly staging the break-ins. They include Everett Haney Jr., 23, of Staffordsville; Chris Dingus, 18, of Auxier; and Joseph N. Tussey, 20, of Auxier. Each faces one count of theft by unlawful taking and one count of second-degree burglary.
Two more people who allegedly bought the items from the alleged burglars, then attempted to destroy the evidence, also face felony charges. They include Michael Wallen, 20, and John Rose, 18, both of Auxier. They are each charged with one count of receiving stolen property and one count of tampering with physical evidence.
District Judge Eric D. Hall signed orders requiring the men to take part in a pretrial substance abuse program. If they successfully complete the program, the County Attorney’s Office has agreed to amend the charges to misdemeanors, with a penalty of supervised probation or Drug Court.
In the event any of the men does not complete the substance abuse program, prosecution under the original charges will continue.
According to Sheriff John K Blackburn, burglars broke into six Auxier homes during the week of March 10, smashing through doors and windows to gain entry. The thieves took a wide variety of items, including Zippo lighters, a laptop computer, a home stereo system, air compressors and over 70 Case knives. In one instance, a dog was also taken.
Blackburn said over half of the stolen items — including the dog — were eventually returned to their original owners.
Wallen and Tussey will complete their program in the Pike County Detention Center. Haney has been ordered to the Harlan County Detention Center, Rose has been ordered to the Powell County Detention Center, and Dingus has been ordered to the Three Forks Regional County Detention Center, in Beattyville.