YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A Struthers man with a long history of theft who was sentenced Tuesday has such a long record that even his attorney said he would not oppose consecutive sentences for him.
Michael Mele, 36, was sentenced to two years in prison in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle and a fifth-degree felony count of forgery.
He was charged with stealing a U-Haul truck in 2022 and for stealing checks this year. The payment was stopped on the checks before they could be used, said Assistant Prosecutor Nick Brevetta.
Brevetta urged consecutive one-year sentences for Mele, saying he has prosecuted him several times for low-level felony theft offenses where he does a minimal sentence, then once he gets free, he steals again.
“He will always be a blemish on the Mahoning County community because he will never stop stealing,” Brevetta told the judge. “He’s unwilling to change his chosen profession from thief to anything else that is legal.”
Merle’s attorney, Tom Zena, said his client’s record speaks for itself and he really didn’t have an argument against consecutive sentences.
A check of online records for the Mahoning County area court and common pleas system alone shows 51 entries for cases where Mele was a defendant dating back to 2005.
Mele said he wants to change his ways.
“I realize I’m getting too old for this,” Mele told the judge. “I made some mistakes, and I should’ve known better. It’s not going to happen anymore.”