MIAMI COUNTY — A Troy man entered a guilty plea to two counts of forgery related to impersonating a volunteer firefighter in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
Jeremy Aldrich, 25, waived his right to a grand jury and entered a guilty plea to two counts of fifth-degree felony forgery. In a plea agreement with the state for the guilty pleas, the state dismissed one count of third-degree felony tampering with records and first-degree misdemeanor qualifications for fire official and unauthorized practice in Miami County Municipal Court.
Aldrich was arrested outside his place of employment, Panera Bread in Troy, on Nov. 22. When he was being questioned, he told officers he was a firefighter and showed officers a gold-colored badge and an official-looking ID card that identified him as a captain with Springfield Twp. Officers told him they knew he was not affiliated with any official organization and placed him into custody.
During a search of Aldrich’s vehicle, officers located a Level II firefighter certificate and an EMT Intermediate certificate. Both documents were found to be fraudulent, according to state databases. Aldrich also had a firefighter coat, a siren box and a tablet computer mounted in the vehicle. Other items seized included a window punch and seat belt cutter, a scanner, medical shears, handcuff case, vehicle lockout kit, lights and siren control and a BB gun. Aldrich admitted to officers that he forged a document to the BMV to obtain volunteer fire plates. He claimed he created the ID card himself and the badge was an old one that was issued by Springfield Twp.
Aldrich also allegedly told officers he performs roadside assistance and “it puts people at ease when they see he is a firefighter.” Aldrich also reportedly told officers he assisted at a fire in a field and used a shovel to put the fire out at a property on State Route 202 outside of Troy. He denied he set the fire himself.
The investigation began after a report of a vehicle driving recklessly at the scene of a traffic crash on Oct. 30. Aldrich was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria with a light bar and siren attached to his vehicle. He claimed to be a Springfield Twp. firefighter in Clark County and had several reports of showing up on medic calls in Troy. A records check with Springfield Twp. human resources listed Aldrich as a cadet when he was 14 and was released when turned 18. The fire chief stated they had not issued badges in 13 years and the station number is from another department and it was likely fake.
Department officials also checked state EMS certifications and Aldrich was not listed on any official roster. Aldrich had also been charged with falsification in 2016 when he was driving in an area with red lights activated on his car and claimed to be a Casstown Fire Fighter.
Aldrich was ordered to complete a pre-sentence investigation. He will be sentenced by Judge Jeannine Pratt on Feb. 21.
In other news:
Melissa S. Clark, 53, of Troy, waived her right to a grand jury and entred a plea of guilty to one count of theft of drugs, a fourth degree felony on Monday.
In a joint plea agreement, the state will dismiss one count of fifth-degree theft and one count of fifth-degree drug possession. Clark is currently on community control for a previous theft charge. Last November, Clark was charged with stealing morphine from a dying relative who was in hospice care.
Clark could face up to 18 months in prison and pay a fine up to $5,000. She was released on her own recongnaizance and will be sentenced on Feb. 21.