BOWLING GREEN - An East Toledo man who stole a cannon from Fort Meigs State Memorial Park in Perrysburg, then cut it into pieces and dumped them in the Maumee River, was ordered yesterday to pay the Ohio Historical Society $35,587 to replace it.
William Jarzynski, 51, was also sentenced to 60 days in the Wood County jail, although Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry said he may apply for the work release program "to permit [Jarzynski] to earn the money to pay it back more quickly."
Jarzynski, 51, was indicted in May for grand theft and tampering with evidence in connection with the unusual theft. In October, he agreed to plead guilty to grand theft in exchange for the dismissal of the other charge.
Yesterday's hearing shed little light on why the body shop owner pulled the April 21 stunt.
"I don't have anything to say," he commented when Judge Mayberry asked if he'd like to make a statement.
"You don't have anything to say?" the judge asked.
"I'm really sorry that I did it. I should've never done it," Jarzynski replied.
Judge Mayberry then asked why he paraded the cannon around East Toledo before taking it to his shop where he ultimately burned the wooden carriage and cut the barrel into pieces.
"I guess just to show off," Jarzynski replied. "I don't know."
Judge Mayberry ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service, placed him on community control for five years, and ordered him to stay away from Fort Meigs. If he violates any of the terms of his probation, Jarzynski could spend 18 months in prison, the judge said.
Spiros Cocoves, attorney for Jarzynski, said his client was a hard-working family man with no prior criminal record. Jarzynski has already paid $15,000 in restitution to the Ohio Historical Society, and Mr. Cocoves said his client would pay the remaining $20,587.
"Mr. Jarzynski is committed to paying that. He wants to right that wrong in the best way he can," he said.
Assistant County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said he agreed to the plea bargain only because it was the best way to make sure the Ohio Historical Society, which operates Fort Meigs, was made whole.
Adam Sakel, interim site director at Fort Meigs, said afterward that the sentence was "the best we can hope for." He said the Ohio Historical Society intends to replace the cannon, but much will depend on when Jarzynski pays the balance of the restitution.
"This is a time when the society has cut services and cut hours, so just pulling $35,000 out of the clear blue sky isn't an option," he said.
The cannon was a reproduction of a weapon used during the War of 1812.
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