Copper Thief Sentenced to Two and a Half Years in Prison
James Dina says his drug addiction fueled his poor decisions.
A 34-year-old Cleveland man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to 24 felony charges related to a string of copper thefts in Cuyahoga County — including several churches in Lakewood.
James Dina, of 1011 Spring Rd., stood silently as he received the sentence from Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Eileen T. Gallagher.
At times, he expressed emotion during the proceedings.
“I hope everyone accepts my apologies,” he said, adding that it was an addiction to heroin that fueled his poor choices. “I wished this had never happened, but it’s a reality."
There were four cases related to the 24 charges — a total of 16 charges breaking and entering, five charges of theft and vandalism, all fifth-degree felonies; disrupting public service, a fourth-degree felony; and second-degree felony burglary.
Dina faced 30 years in prison for the charges. Gallagher said she considered sending him to a drug treatment facility for his heroin addiction, but added that prison was the appropriate sentence.
“I still consider these crimes serious,” she said.
Lakewood police Det. Pat Foye spoke on behalf of Dina at sentencing, noting that after he’d been caught, Dina showed detectives other places where he’d stolen copper downspouts.
“We had him for one crime, and he admitted to 10,” Foye told the judge. “Without his assistance, we would have never tied in those other crimes.”
“There’s no way you or I could support habit like that, other than to steal."
Dina’s family, along with his attorney, Michael Shaughnessy, said that Dina was driven to steal because of his drug addiction.
“He realizes that he is not ready to go back onto the streets,” Shaughnessy said. “I really believe in James and his family.”
“Let’s see if we can get him back on track.”