Charges stem from online acquaintance


A Facebook friendship has led to a real life indictment.
The Union County Grand Jury indicted Philip Salmons, 49, of 11007 Watkins Road. Salmons is charged with one count each of domestic violence and abduction.
According to court documents, on Sept. 27, a bystander called police at about 4:17 p.m. The caller said there was a man and a woman fighting inside a Chevy Trailblazer in front of a business on Coleman’s Crossing. When police arrived at the scene, they found the woman, but the man and the vehicle were gone.
“She was just left at the store by him,” said Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips. “He took the vehicle and left her there.”
The woman said the pair had been arguing about an online friendship.
“Essentially, he reportedly got upset that the victim was friends with someone on Facebook,” Phillips said.
He said the argument allegedly turned violent.
According to court documents, the man allegedly grabbed the woman’s hair and used it to pull her into the center console of the vehicle. He allegedly hit her in the face, stomach and back. The woman tried to get out of the vehicle, but Salmons allegedly held her in. Phillips explained abduction is not just physically taking someone, it could also be prohibiting them from leaving.
“Anytime you restrict the liberty of another person, whether it is taking them somewhere they don’t want to go, or not allowing them to go somewhere they want to go, it can be considered abduction,” Phillips said.
Phillips said the phone call to the police may have saved the woman’s life.
“It is always important, critically important, to call because of the potential for serious physical harm in a situation like this,” Phillips said.
While domestic violence is typically charged as a misdemeanor, after a first conviction, subsequent accusations are charged as a felony. Salmons was convicted of domestic violence in 2011.
If convicted on both counts, Salmons could face as many as six and a half years in prison.
Also indicted were:
-David Smith, 29, whose court-listed address is the Tri-County Regional Jail. Smith is charged with one count of breaking and entering, stemming from an alleged incident Sept. 25, at the Village Square Apartments. If convicted on all counts, Smith could face as many as 12 months in prison.
-Jason Michael Fawcett, 41, of Howard. Fawcett is charged with one count of aggravated theft. Court documents allege that, between Dec. 31 and Oct. 3, Fawcett stole from a local equipment rental agency. Phillips said in May 2016, Fawcett rented a forklift from the agency.
“He was supposed to have it a very short period,” Phillips said.
Instead, the man continued to rent the equipment through December. In December, Phillips said, the man kept the forklift but stopped making the rental payment.
“The rental agreement requires the renter to tell where the equipment is being used so they can go get it if they need to,” Phillips said. “He refused to do that.”
The prosecutor said the forklift is valued at about $140,000.
“He has still not brought it back yet,” Phillips said.
He said the company has lost out on nearly $3,000 in rental fees.
If convicted, Fawcett could face as many as five years in prison.
-Codefendants Mark Chmielewski, 46, and Joshua P. Chmielewski, 27, both of 511 Miller Ave., Columbus.
Both men are charged with one count each of theft and breaking and entering. According to court documents, on June 26, the men broke into a building. The men allegedly took $2,500 of larger and specialty batteries, according to court documents.
Phillips said a passerby saw the men and their truck leave the business. He said the truck’s driving, combined with the fact that batteries were “literally falling out of the back of the truck,” led the witness to contact law enforcement.
While investigators were not able to find the truck, there was video surveillance and police were able to identify the men.
“They are claiming they had permission to take the batteries,” Phillips said, adding that the owner says they did not have permission to take the batteries.
If convicted on each count, both men could face as many as 24 months in prison.
The prosecutor is also seeking to seize a truck he said was used in the crime.
-Codefendants Sarah Marie Fuson, 37, of 836 Collins Ave., and Edward Lee Shaw, 41, of 321 W. Third St. Fuson and Shaw are each charged with one count of receiving stolen property.
According to court documents, on Sept. 8, Fuson and Shaw allegedly had possession of a credit card they knew or should have known was stolen. If convicted, Fuson and Shaw could each face as many as 12 months in prison.
-Chelsea Lynn Abram, 21, of 6244 Kingview Dr., Hilliard. Abram is charged with one count each of attempted grand theft of a motor vehicle and passing bad checks. According to court documents, on Sept. 27, Abram wrote a check to a local car dealership for nearly $42,100 for a 2018 Chevy Equinox. Court documents allege that Abram either canceled the check or knew there was not going to be enough money in the account to cover it. If convicted, Abram could face as many as 30 months in prison.

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