Twenty-eight year old Andrew Franz of Rochester was sentenced Wednesday, June 11th, in Marshall Superior Court Number 1 to 10 years imprisonment for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. In open court, Franz admitted that on October 18, 2013, he along with a nineteen year old woman stole several items from the Plymouth Wal Mart which were intended to be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
Judge Robert O. Bowen approved an agreement reached between Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman and defense attorney Jeff Houin, which provided for a 10 year sentence at the Indiana Department of Corrections. An additional provision of the agreement allows for Franz to petition the court for modification of his sentence after serving 6 years of the 10 year sentence.
The case began when Plymouth Police Officer Bridget Hite was dispatched to the Plymouth Wal Mart regarding two adult shoplifters. Video cameras confirmed the pair went through the store and selected numerous items related to the manufacture of methamphetamine, including airline tubing, razor blades and some tools. The couple also selected a can of Coleman Camping fuel for which they paid. The other items were concealed in the female’s purse.
Subsequent investigation revealed numerous pseudoephedrine purchases by both individuals. For several weeks, Franz denied any involvement in the thefts or any knowledge of what the female intended to do with the items. His background, however, revealed previous convictions of theft, conversion and possession of methamphetamine while armed with a deadly weapon from Fulton, Howard and Kosciusko counties. Franz has served previous time at the Department of Corrections and was currently on parole. No one believed his story that he was unaware what the female was doing, or what was intended for the items taken. In fact, it was alleged that Franz was directing her what to steal. In the end, Franz admitted his guilt.
“It is our fervent hope that the crooks and thieves and meth addicts from surrounding counties will soon get the word that Marshall County does not tolerate their travels here to steal and cook dope,” Chipman stated. “When they know that a simple shoplifting charge will turn into a 10 year sentence, we expect they will choose somewhere else to go.”