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A Delaware County Grand Jury this week indicted a couple accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of large appliances from vacant homes using fake work orders.

Monte Shoemaker, 25, and Alyssa Rhoads, 22, both of Columbus were each indicted on burglary and theft charges. Shoemaker was indicted on 19 counts of burglary and 18 counts of theft and Rhoads was charged with 18 counts of burglary and 17 counts of theft.

Shoemaker was arrested on June 1 after Delaware County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a burglary in progress on Dauer Court in Powell. The realtor of the vacant property told deputies that he saw a man and a pregnant woman enter one of his vacant properties and their vehicle matched the vehicle from another break-in case in Gahanna, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said in a written release.

When arrested, Shoemaker had multiple keys, which, authorities allege, allowed him access to the vacant homes, and a number of fake HUD work orders. Shoemaker was transported that evening to the Delaware County Jail. Rhoads was not arrested, but transported to an area hospital due to prenatal issues.

After the June 1 incident, a multi-county investigation further revealed that Shoemaker and Rhoads matched the description of suspects in a number of other appliance burglary cases.

“The two defendants are charged with committing burglaries in Delaware, Union and Franklin Counties,” O’Brien said. “It is estimated that the two stole more than $33,000 worth of home appliances from vacant homes — and all while Ms. Rhoads was in the late stages of pregnancy.”

Arrest warrants have been issued for both Shoemaker and Rhoads.

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