UNION COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) – A serial thief was sentenced to more than a decade in prison in connection with allegedly running a criminal “crew” that operated in several central Ohio counties.
Andrew K. Foster was sentenced by a Union County judge to between 10 and a half and 14 and a half years in prison as well as paying restitution.
According to the court, Foster and his co-conspirators broke into gas stations, stealing a thousand dollars’ worth of cigarettes, which they then either sold or traded for crack cocaine and cash.
Foster and his crew allegedly stole more than $29,000 worth of cigarettes during break-ins in Union, Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Morrow, Perry, and Madison counties.
The court states that as a former locksmith, Foster was “adept at defeating the door locks securing the businesses.” Once inside the stores, Foster and his crew would use trash bags and trash cans to carry the stolen goods.
According to the court, Foster’s sentencing was delayed several hours due to his last-minute actions.
The court said Foster had been hospitalized after becoming sick while an inmate at Tri-County Regional Jail. He was placed on oxygen when he was released from the hospital.
In order to keep Foster safe from COVID-19, the court wanted to sentence Foster via video, but he refused to waive his court appearance. He was taken to the court by sheriff’s deputies for an 8:30 a.m. hearing with his portable oxygen.
Foster tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but after a hearing, the court denied the motion. Foster then apparently ran out of oxygen and claimed he couldn’t breathe and that he was having a panic attack. Foster was then taken to Memorial Hospital and released an hour later.
Foster was finally sentenced at 4 p.m. after he returned to court.
Prior to sentencing, the judge said Foster has at least 22 prior felony convictions, was not remorseful for his actions, was likely to re-offend, and was not suitable for a community control sanction.
Foster was one of the defendants in a 2006 Ohio Supreme Court case which struck down a portion of Ohio’s sentencing laws.
At that time, Foster had been indicted in Licking County for multiple counts of breaking and entering, safecracking, forgery, possession of cocaine, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, for which he was sentenced to nine years in prison.
His sentence was appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, which took up the case and ended up striking down several provisions of the state’s sentencing laws.