A Hudson man with a long criminal history in Portage and Summit counties has pleaded not guilty to charges that he broke into a Streetsboro residence in early January, stealing jewelry, credit cards and other miscellaneous items from the homeowners in the process.
Phillip L. Gast, 53, of 5064 Sullivan Road, was indicted by a Portage County grand jury on one count each of burglary, a second-degree felony, grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, and two counts each of receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards, all fifth-degree felonies, on March 27.
Gast pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment in Portage County Common Pleas Court on May 21 and was released on a personal recognizance bond. Judge John Enlow set a preliminary trial date for Sept. 23, according to court records.
Gast allegedly broke into a residence in the 8500 block of Ferguson Road in Streetsboro, stole more than $7,500 worth of miscellaneous items and jewelry and used the victims' credit cards to make more than $1,000 worth of purchases between Jan. 8 and Jan. 14, according to his indictment. The case was investigated by Streetsboro police.
Gast has a previous criminal record in Portage County, including a May 2006 conviction for receiving stolen property, a third-degree felony, and breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, in May 2006.
In that case, Gast was accused of breaking into Automation Plastics on Lena Drive in Aurora on Jan. 15, 2006. Police said he trespassed on company property-- damaging it in the process -- stole steel injection molds worth more than $100,000 as well as a clock radio, tools and a tool box belonging to at least three different victims, according to his indictment.
Gast pleaded guilty to and was sentenced to four years in prison by Judge Laurie Pittman in July 2006. Gast was granted judicial release by Pittman in July 2008 and placed on four years probation with orders to get court-ordered drug treatment.
Portage County records show that Gast was given numerous chances to stay clean but continued to get in trouble with the law over the last five years.
His probation was extended for four more years in October 2008 after he was arrested by Macedonia police and charged with multiple counts of grand theft and breaking and entering.
Subsequent arrests for domestic violence and receiving stolen property in Summit County led probation officials to ask Pittman to revoke Gast's probation yet again in January 2011, court records show, and she extended his probation for one additional year that same month.
Officials sought to revoke Gast's probation for a third time in April 2012 after he failed to abide by the rules set by the court and failed to communicate with Portage County probation officers. Records show he was, at the time, serving a three-and-a-half year prison term based on felony convictions out of Summit County, a sentence set to end in August 2015, according to court records.
Summit County court records show he was granted judicial release from that prison term more than two years early by Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigall Jones in June 2013.
Gast also has prior convictions in Summit County for receiving stolen property in 2011; grand theft, breaking and entering and possessing criminal tools in 2009; and felony forgery and receiving stolen property in 1996, according to court records there.