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Candidate not proud of theft

November 16, 2000

Candidate not proud of theft



By JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer


SHARPSBURG - A Sharpsburg Town Council candidate said Thursday he has turned his life around since a misdemeanor theft conviction more than 15 years ago in Montgomery County, Md.

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"I've often said that the first 25 years of my life were ones I'd like to forget and the last 20 are the ones that I'd like to remember," Joel Wayne Thomas said Thursday.

"I'm not proud that I had a misdemeanor theft," said Thomas, 41, of 106 S. Mechanic St.

The conviction came to light during a routine inquiry by The Herald-Mail.

The theft charge was issued in September 1983, court records state.

Thomas was found not guilty, according to the Montgomery County District Court criminal clerk's office.

Thomas said the "not guilty" finding stems from the fact he was granted probation before judgment.

After Thomas had a probation violation hearing on Aug. 1, 1985, he was given a three-year suspended sentence, according to the criminal clerk's office.

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Thomas also was given 24 months of supervised probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Thomas said the theft charge stems from being caught in a stolen automobile with some other people.

Shortly after his arrest and while doing time in a halfway house, Thomas said, he decided to clean up his life.

"I haven't gotten in any kind of trouble pushing 15 years. I live my life to the grindstone. I go to work every day. I raise my family. I'm a trustee at my local Bible church, Sharpsburg Bible Church," he said.

"I try to be as much an example as I can be," said Thomas, who is a maintenance mechanic at the True Value distribution center.

"I just think this small a thing from the past is not anything that anyone should worry about. That's a different lifetime," Thomas said.

"I ran for Town Council because I wanted to see what I could do for here, in town. If it doesn't work out, I'll help in other ways," Thomas said.

Three other candidates are running for the two council seats up for grabs during Tuesday's town election. Three people are running for mayor.

Earlier this month a routine inquiry by The Herald-Mail found that Town Council candidate Jeffrey Irvin Sheffler had two felony theft convictions and a misdemeanor theft conviction.

Sheffler is due in Baltimore County District Court in Essex, Md., on Dec. 14 for trial on two bad check charges, court records state.

Sheffler also had two civil suits filed against him in Frederick County, Md., in which the judgment was ordered in favor of the plaintiff, Washington County District Court records state.

He was ordered on May 8, 1989, to pay $1,351.49 to Routzahn & Sons, court records report.

Sheffler was ordered on July 2, 1990, to pay $650 to Brian Walker Miceli, court records state.

Sheffler's attorney, Kirk C. Downey, said neither he nor Sheffler had a comment on the civil cases.

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