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Some stolen items recovered

Michael Edward Fleshman

WORTHINGTON -- A Worthington man accused of stealing a King James Bible from a garage denied the theft of the Good Book but allegedly admitted to taking fishing poles, an ice auger and a chainsaw.

Michael Edward Fleshman, Worthington, 38, is charged with third-degree burglary, theft over $500 and receiving stolen property.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities received a call Tuesday morning about a burglary that had occurred in a garage. The victim said his garage door was shut but not locked the night before, but in the morning he noticed an open door on the unattached building.

The two cars parked inside appeared to have been tampered with, he said, with one car door left open.

It appeared as though someone had taken papers from the glove box, and some CDs and a Bible in a leather case was also missing. It looked as though someone had unsuccessfully tried to remove the satellite radio, also. Other items were missing from the garage as well.

The officer canvassed the neighborhood to see if anyone else had been burglarized. One neighbor reported an open garage door, but no missing items. In that garage, some of the stolen items from the victim's garage were located.

The neighbor who found the items said he does not live at the residence, but rents it out. When he went to the garage to get some construction equipment, the victim's wife walked by and informed him of the burglary. He looked around and found items that matched the description of the reported missing items -- an ice auger, lawn chairs, a cooler, a gas can, tiki torches, a weed trimmer and fishing poles. The Bible and an air compressor were not found.

The officer went to the door and spoke to the renter and her children, who said they knew nothing about the stolen items. Authorities asked and received permission to search the house. When an officer spoke to a juvenile at the scene, he reported seeing "Mike" with two fishing poles the night before.

When the officer spoke with the renter, she said she suspected her husband, Fleshman, had burglarized the garage two doors down. When he is on methamphetamine, she allegedly said, he steals. She said Fleshman had been staying at the house for the past few months.

Authorities learned Fleshman's possible whereabouts and arrested him. During an interview at the law enforcement center, Fleshman denied being involved in the burglary, stating that on Tuesday he mowed, went to bed, then got up the next morning and went fishing.

Under further questioning, he admitted to entering the garage two doors down and taking some items. He said the items found in the garage at his house were those he had stolen. He denied taking the Bible, and said the air compressor was in his basement. He said he took a 10-speed bike found in the garage from the downtown area. He had planned to sell the stolen items for cash, he admitted.

The items, both missing and recovered, are valued at a total of $666.