TROY — A Troy man who police said posed as a firefighter using forged documents was sentenced Wednesday to eight months in prison on two felony forgery charges in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Jeremy Aldrich, 25, pleaded guilty to the charges in January.
Aldrich could be released early from prison if he stays out of trouble and provides a plan to address mental health issues, Judge Jeannine Pratt said.
A Troy police officer reported he started checking into Aldrich when he saw a Ford Crown Victoria with red and white flashing lights on the roof while the officer was investigating a wreck on West Main Street near Interstate 75 in November. After more checks, the officer reported he was told by a police captain that firefighters had reported seeing the car show up at ambulance calls in town and that the driver claimed to be with the Springfield Twp. Fire Department in Clark County.
Additional checks found that the driver had said he worked for another department when police had contact with him during an incident at his place of employment earlier in 2017. Police said they were unable to verify any employment by Aldrich by a fire department or any required certifications.
Aldrich was arrested later in November. Police said they found a firefighter turnout coat, scanner, medical shears, handcuff case, vehicle lock out kit and a BB gun a among other items in his car. They said Aldrich admitted to forging the signature of a Clark County fire official to obtain the special license plates. The second forgery charge involved a fake ID. A charge of tampering with records was dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Public defender Joe Fulker told Pratt that Aldrich made a “very bad decision” when forging the documents to pose as a firefighter.
Aldrich said he now realizes “what I did was wrong and selfish.” He said he hid his activity from family and friends. “I realize I don’t need a title to keep me happy,” he said.
Pratt read Aldrich’s criminal record that included juvenile adjudications for domestic violence, theft, identify fraud and adult convictions for inducing panic - a bomb threat in Clark County - and making a false alarm.
“You have a course of conduct that is very concerning. The community around you could be at risk as well as the people around you,” Pratt said, telling Aldrich his mental health issues had to be addressed.
In a letter to the court in late November, Aldrich wrote he knew what he did was wrong. “I did it not to hurt people, but to help them. I would often stop on the highway to help someone who was broken down and I said I was on the department, show my ‘badge’ and ID so they knew was was there to help, which usually put them at ease,” he said.
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