Cole sentenced to one year for alcohol theft

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Greencastle man was sentenced to a year in jail Monday for stealing liquor from Wal-Mart.

James R. Cole, 20, was sentenced in Putnam County Circuit Court on a felony theft charge.

Cole was apprehended on Sept. 19 at the Greencastle Wal-Mart, where he had been detained by the staff for "attempting to steal alcohol," court records said. A store manager told Greencastle Police Department officer Ed Wilson Cole had tried to take a 750 milliliter bottle of rum and a 750 milliliter bottle of vodka. The manager told Wilson Cole had admitted to the thefts, court documents said.

Cole was identified by an Indiana Department of Corrections I.D. card he had in his pocket.

"I read Cole the Miranda warnings and asked him if he had stolen the alcohol, to which he replied that he had," Wilson wrote in his report.

Cole told Wilson he had not come to the store with the intent to steal, but rather had done so on impulse.

Cole was originally arrested in August 2007 and charged with Class D felony theft and two counts of Class C felony forgery. On Feb. 21 he was convicted on one of the forgery counts and was sentenced to four years in prison with two years executed, balance suspended and credit for time served, and was put on probation. He was released from jail on Aug. 28.

A petition to revoke Cole's probation was issued on Sept. 22 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Cole has been at the Putnam County Jail since his arrest, and remains there pending transfer to a DOC facility.

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  • Let's see.........a pack of gum if you steal it is 5 to 7 yrs........this man will go down for at least that........Frisbee???? taking money from funds as an elected official???????? Priceless...........Pitiful

    -- Posted by sad_but_true on Mon, Nov 17, 2008, at 10:37 PM
  • It's doesn't fair that this guy got a year and Frisbee got a coulple months. It's also unfair that theres no story about him in the Banner. More proof of how corrupt Putnam County is.

    -- Posted by cominatcha on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 4:21 AM
  • To Cominatcha - Here is the store about Frisbie you claim was not in the Banner. I don't receive the actual paper, but I view it online and this was in the Most Discussed and Most Viewed portions of the

    TERRE HAUTE -- Former Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie will spend two months in prison for a felony charge of federal program theft.

    Frisbie faced Judge Larry McKinney in U.S. District 7 Court, Terre Haute, Thursday. As Frisbie's friends and family members sobbed audibly, McKinney handed down a sentence of two months in prison, four months home detention with electronic monitoring and two years probation for Frisbie. McKinney recommended Frisbie serve the two-month prison sentence in Terre Haute's Federal Penitentiary.

    Former Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie, left, leaves the U.S. District 7 Court in Terre Haute Thursday after being sentenced for federal program theft.

    McKinney noted that Frisbie enlisted in the U.S. National Guard on Aug. 7. He said that should the National Guard "still be interested," Frisbie's four months on home detetion would be waived.

    "I want this sentence to promote respect for the law," McKinney said prior to letting Frisbie know his fate.

    After hearing final arguments from Frisbie's attorney, Bob Hammerle, and United States Attorney Jim Warden, McKinney said he was concerned "over officials violating trust of the community."

    "Obviously, this is devastating," Hammerle said. "To correctional people, this seems like a very light sentence. But then you see all these people who care for Mark crying and collapsing, and you realize how many people it affects."

    Following sentencing, Frisbie was allowed to leave the court. Hammerle said it could take a few weeks for the former sheriff to find out when and where he would report to prison and that he would be notified via phone call.

    "Essentially, he'll get a call, probably in three to six weeks, saying he has a week to 10 days to report and where he has to go."

    Frisbie was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $11,608.11, which McKinney said was due "immediately."

    McKinney assessed Frisbie no fines.

    Frisbie was facing a potential 10-year sentence and a $250,000 fine.

    He had been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Indiana State Police for several months for allegedly stealing funds to provide training and accommodations for employees of his personal business, Frisbie Security Consulting LLC, in addition to pay for travel expenses for his stepdaughter and to pay himself back for expenses the Putnam County Sheriff's Department had already reimbursed him for.

    According to investigation findings, the thefts took place between January 2006 and March 2008.

    While handing down sentencing Thursday, McKinney said he found it "troublesome" that Frisbie had used department monies for the personal training.

    In August, Frisbie entered a guilty plea to the felony charge.

    "You recognized how serious this is, but you recognized it a little late," McKinney said.

    He also said he wanted Frisbie's cause to be something of a cautionary tale.

    "I am concerned about others who have been given public trust and their understanding of the seriousness of a charge like this," he said. "That's an important consideration in this case."

    McKinney recognized Frisbie's time as sheriff before handing down sentencing.

    "Your history is something of which you should be quite proud of," McKinney said, adding it was appropriate that Frisbie resigned from his post immediately.

    "You have respected the system by stepping away from it and not thumbing your nose at it," he said.

    In addition, McKinney said he took into account several letters that were written by family members regarding Frisbie.

    "These letters show a real history of caring for your community," McKinney said. "It's a selfless history."

    Still, McKinney said that history could not be weighed against the crime that was committed.

    "You don't get to put all your good deeds on one side of the scale and all your bad deeds on the other," he said.

    Prior to McKinney's decision, Hammerle and Warden were allowed to speak.

    Hammerle said that Frisbie took "great pride" in being sheriff.

    "He did a lot of good things for that county," Hammerle said. "All of these things speak enormous volumes to his character."

    Hammerle asked the court for leniency, especially since Frisbie had resigned immediately.

    "In his case, he had to face a community that was stunned," Hammerle said. "That means something."

    However, Warden argued facing the situation head-on did not allow Frisbie to use department monies as his own "piggy bank."

    "This is theft from the people," Warden said. "This is taxpayer money. He was elected by these people. He wore the badge of this office, but he dishonored it."

    Warden argued that six separate acts of embezzlement were not an indicator of a "momentary lapse of weakness."

    "The defendant had been trusted with the funds," Warden said. "He took them fraudulently. He decided he could raid the piggy bank."

    Ultimately, Warden said the question of why the money was taken had never been answered.

    "There is no good reason," Warden said. "(Frisbie) did not need this money."

    Frisbie also had an opportunity to address the court.

    "I want to apologize to the people of Putnam County, my department, my family and friends," Frisbie said. "I took great pride in being sheriff. I made some mistakes and I got sloppy."

    Hammerle is confident the National Guard will accept Frisbie, and that being in the military will allow Frisbie to start rebuilding his life.

    "They have allowed people convicted of felonies to join in the past," he said. "I hope they will make an exception for Mark. I can't think of a better man they could do it for."

    -- Posted by MsBehaving on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 11:05 AM
  • In addition, it was a judge from Terre Haute that presided over this case... so it shows nothing of how corrupt Putnam County is. It does show, however, how many people in Putnam County speak before they think and don't bother researching anything.

    -- Posted by MsBehaving on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 11:06 AM
  • Who you know and who you ****, still works . If you don't believe that ask Mark. And he gets off his 4 months to join National Guard . Bet the rest of the convicted felons like hearing that. It's our own fault. We should of wrote letters like his family did. Maybe Mark's business should be a florist instead of security.He knows how to come out smelling like a rose. Security business...WOW! good luck with that.

    -- Posted by Sand mann on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 11:08 AM
  • Ok seem to have all the answers.....YES Putnam IS corrupt.The story is there but the comment part is not activated. THAT shows how people who think they know everything....don't.You may be ok with someone who spent 2 yrs. stealing from taxpayers but most folks aren't. Mark is a convicted felon and an admitted thief. His comment after the sentencing about "looking back on this in a few years and laughing about it" was a nose-thumbing crack. He deserved WAY more than a few months in jail.

    -- Posted by cominatcha on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 1:25 PM
  • This is sad ... a young person in our community who obviously has an addiction to alcohol - steals less than $50.00 worth of alcohol - there's no options to give him a choice of restoration of his life with community service, a lengthy probation AND treatment in rehab for his addiction (and prison if he breaks probation with an addiction related offense) vs writing him off and sending him to prison where all kinds of interesting adventures await him. sad_but_true, I agree with you.

    -- Posted by Scripted Spontaneity on Tue, Nov 18, 2008, at 1:37 PM
  • To cominatcha:

    I don't believe I ever stated either way how I felt specifically about the Frisbie case. What I did say was not all fo Putnam County is corrupt. There is good, there is bad, and there are some who don't have a backbone to pick a side. I choose the side of the non-corrupt, and the good... and I also think that people that want to continue to discuss the Frisbie case need to start a new forum, perhaps a blog, and rant and rave until blue in the face. The paper probably took off those comments b/c they were vulgar and just out of control. I don't know specifically, because I never read them myself, but I hear what people are saying. And when you don't have to put your name to what you write, people will say just about anything.

    Oh, and I don't have ALL the asnwers... but darn close.

    -- Posted by MsBehaving on Wed, Nov 19, 2008, at 11:11 AM
  • oops.... i mean answers (before the typo police lock me up).

    -- Posted by MsBehaving on Wed, Nov 19, 2008, at 11:11 AM
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