A Wellston man is facing a possible felony-level theft charge after he allegedly stole a cell phone and a bank card from a Jackson woman while turning in a job application at Jackson’s Speyside Bourbon Cooperage.

According to reports from the Jackson Police Department (JPD), officers were dispatched to Speyside at 960 E. Main St. at approximately 6:12 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27 in reference to a theft complaint. The caller stated that Ronald M. Fisher, 49, of Wellston, had stolen a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 cell phone, a WesBanco card, driver’s license, two $50 Walmart gift cards, one $25 Walmart gift card and approximately $50 in cash belonging to 30-year-old Natasha M. Helmintoller of Jackson. In all, the stolen items were valued at approximately $1,175.

In Ohio, theft is charged as a felony if the value of the property stolen is more than $1,000.

In speaking with Speyside office personnel, officers were told that Fisher and one other man, who was also identified, had visited the facility that day in order to turn in applications. The Telegram is not identifying the other man since he was not subsequently charged.

Security surveillance footage reportedly showed Fisher’s companion remain in the driver’s seat of a white pickup truck while Fisher entered the building. Inside, Fisher allegedly entered the break room and spotted a cell phone with a teal-colored case sitting on a table. He then reportedly placed the phone -- which contained the property of the owner in its case -- in his back pocket at approximately 3:41 p.m., exited the building, got in the truck with the other man and left the property.

Speyside management told officers that, after the incident, they called Fisher’s companion and Fisher back to the location to question them. Only the companion returned and he denied knowing anything about the alleged theft. JPD officers then reached out to the Wellston Police Department and requested assistance in locating Fisher.

JPD officers interviewed the companion on Friday, Jan. 29, at which time he said roughly 40 to 45 minutes after leaving Speyside two days prior, he dropped Fisher off at Walmart and returned to Wellston. Officers concluded that, unless Fisher had shared his intentions with the companion, there was no evidence of the companion’s culpability with regard to the alleged theft.

On Feb. 4, a JPD officer went to Walmart to gather information on a pair of fraudulent charges made at the store with Helmintoller’s stolen bank card. Video footage reportedly shows Fisher making two separate transactions -- one for $135.92 at 4:31 p.m. and another for $38.58 at 4:40 p.m. Two additional fraudulent charges were likewise reported at Jackson Food Mart on Huron Street.

The next evening, on Feb. 5, JPD officers located Fisher and conducted an interview. He was reportedly reluctant to admit guilt at first, but did so after officers showed him surveillance footage of the Jan. 27 incident where he was wearing the same clothing he was for that night’s interview. Fisher stated he had made the fraudulent purchases “for survival,” and agreed to take officers to the location of the cell phone, at a home on South Minnesota Avenue in Wellston.

JPD and WPD officers met at the South Minnesota Avenue home, where the resident said Fisher had given her the phone in return for allowing him to stay there. The phone was able to be recovered; however, the remaining property was not, as Fisher reportedly tossed them into a backyard on West First Street in Wellston.

At the report’s conclusion, it is stated that charges of theft (fifth-degree felony) and misuse of a credit card (first-degree misdemeanor) had been sent to Jackson Prosecuting Attorney Justin Lovett against Fisher, who was released from police custody after locating the stolen cell phone.