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West Liberty, OH

Theft ring defendants appear in court (photos included)

Two individuals accused of being part of a theft ring appeared in Hardin County court recently.

Aaron Sells (pictured, top left), 27, pleaded not guilty to 29 criminal charges. Sells has been charged with 10 counts of grand theft with gun specifications, 10 counts of receiving stolen property with gun specifications, three counts of receiving stolen property, two counts of offenses involving tampering with identifying numbers to conceal identity of a vehicle or part, two counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle, and one count of tampering with evidence. He was assigned a trial date of February 21. His bond was set at $75,000, subject to 10 percent.

Codefendant Michael Moore (pictured, bottom left), 21, pleaded not guilty to a total of 24 criminal charges. His charges were mostly similar to the ones against Sells. Moore will go to trial February 12.

Hardin County Sheriff Keith Everhart said more indictments are expected in the case.

The original story follows:

Everhart said what started with a traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle culminated in a four-day execution of search warrants at three properties in two counties, one in Logan County at 16363 Township Road 204, three arrests and the break-up of a multi-county theft ring.

What is likely to be hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen property has been seized. Hardin County sheriff’s detective Mike Conley said they found power tools and high-end electronics, bicycles, boat trailers, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, along with a log-splitter and a dune buggy.

By Friday night, authorities had filled two flatbed trailers, an enclosed semi trailer and an enclosed car hauler with what they believe to be stolen goods.

Items were found in several places: inside the two-story, dilapidated farmhouse, many outbuildings, and buried deep in the ground of the 8-acre property. Also found were eight stolen guns wrapped in plastic garbage bags.

Three men have been charged with receiving stolen property, including 27-year-old Aaron Sells, whose parents, Herbert C. and Elizabeth Sells, own the property and live there. The parents have not been charged. Others charged include two friends of Sells, Michael Moore, 21, and Jasin Rorabough, 19. All three live in the area.

Everhart said he expects additional charges against them and others.

So far, sheriffs from Logan and Union counties have been on site and identified some of the goods as stolen from burglaries in their counties. Authorities also linked some of the stuff to thefts in Cincinnati, and Franklin, Marion and Shelby counties.

Sells had previously been shot in November 2009 by two teenagers who caught him breaking into their family’s barn. He served 10 days in jail for the incident, Hardin County court records show.

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