Hilliard Northwest News

Norwich Township due restitution for 2011 arson

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A 27-year-old Galloway man was sentenced to more than two years in prison for arson and multiple counts of open burning and dumping.

Dustin L. LaBarge of Brookville Road pleaded guilty to all five counts in an indictment that included two counts of open burning, two counts of open dumping, and one count of arson, all felonies.

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen L. McIntosh sentenced LaBarge to 30 months in prison and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $1,367 to the Norwich Township Fire Department.

The charges stem from an illegal burning and dumping incident in August 2011 on Roberts Road, in Brown Township.

Prosecutors said LaBarge dumped tires and mattresses on rural property without the owner's knowledge. LaBarge, a metal scrapper, then burned the material in order to free the steel belts from the tires and the steel coils from the mattresses, prosecutors said.

The scrap metal yard LaBarge used assisted in the investigation and prosecution.

LaBarge initially pleaded not guilty and a trial had been scheduled, but after jury selection, LaBarge amended his plea to guilty, according to a press release from the Environmental Crimes Task Force of Central Ohio.

Ronald J. Mills, executive director of the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, said the conviction resulted from the collaborative investigation of Norwich Township Fire Department and the task force.

"We will continue to be aggressive in tracking polluters and seeking the strongest punishment possible," Mills said in a press release.

SWACO manages and funds the Environmental Crimes Task Force, which consists of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, Franklin County Department of Public Health and the Columbus Division of Refuse.

LaBarge, who has a prior criminal record, was on parole at the time of the incident and may face additional prison time from the Adult Parole Authority.

According to court records, LaBarge most recently was charged in July for trafficking in drugs and possession of drugs.

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