Restoration worker of Blanchester house found guilty of theft

By Gary Huffenberger -



WILMINGTON — After a jury trial, one of the two co-defendants was found guilty of felony theft from a Blanchester house where they were doing rehabilitation work following a fire.

Alex S. Sortwell, 28, of Covington, Kentucky, was found guilty, whereas Eric A. Lucas, 25, also of northern Kentucky, was found not guilty by the same Clinton County jury. The two men’s cases had been consolidated into one jury trial.

In the incident, the family had vacated their house during its rehabilitation after the December 2016 fire, according to a May 2017 news release from Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt. The items that were taken included jewelry.

At the time of the rehab work, the two men worked for a nationwide company named Servpro, which has multiple franchises that perform cleanup and restoration services after buildings are damaged by fire or water. Reinbolt described the men as “former employees” in his May release.

The jury found Sortwell guilty of theft, and further found that the total amount of items stolen by him is worth at least $1,000 but less than $7,500.

The sentencing hearing for Sortwell is scheduled for March 9 in the Clinton County Common Pleas Courtroom.

The 12 jurors, meanwhile, found Lucas not guilty. According to a court paper in the case file, Lucas has a criminal record involving a 2010 burglary case in Kenton County, Kentucky.

Lucas’ employment with Servpro was terminated in February 2017 after a client contacted Lucas’ manager claiming that food had been stolen from their refrigerator, stated a court paper.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.


By Gary Huffenberger