Burglary suspect admits guilt in plea bargain

A Columbus man who burglarized the home of a local political figure has been sentenced in Bartholomew Superior Court to 1 to 10 years in prison.

Robert Steven Reed, 37, 926 Union St., was caught in the act early last year by homeowner and former Bartholomew County Council president Ryan Lauer, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Lauer lost to incumbent District 59 State Rep. Milo Smith in the May Republican primary.

Reed pleaded guilty last month to burglary as a Level 4 felony as part of a plea bargain. In exchange, charges from other unrelated cases that include criminal recklessness, battery and two counts of disorderly conduct were dismissed, court records state.

In describing the residential burglary, the affidavit states that when Lauer came home for lunch Feb. 19, 2015, he noticed the back door to his Chestnut Street residence was open.

It was later discovered the intruder had broken out the glass on a side entrance to gain entry, the affidavit stated.

After walking into his home, Lauer saw Reed scooping peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon, as well as drinking from a bottle of vodka that had been kept in a cabinet, the affidavit stated.

Lauer told investigators that when he attempted to speak to the burglar, Reed first gave a nonsensical response that included a reference to dragons before he ran out the door, according to the written police account.

While Lauer unsuc-cessfully tried to detain him, the homeowner was not injured, the affidavit stated.

After officers arrived, they were able to apprehend Reed as he was running down an alley, the affidavit stated.

The sentence handed down to Reed Tuesday by Judge Jim Worton was just short of the 12-year maximum allowed by Indiana law.

Worton explained in open court that Reed has an extensive criminal history that includes 14 convictions, as well as a number of probation violations.

In addition to the prison term, the judge also ordered Reed to pay $3,178 in restitution.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.