A Conneaut Lake man has pleaded guilty in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to stealing more than $5,000 from his former employer nearly two years ago.

James M. Gilchrist Jr., 40, pleaded guilty Monday before President Judge Anthony J. Vardaro to a charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

Gilchrist admitted to taking $5,062.25 in cash from Kebert Construction Co. between July 1 and July 20, 2017, while working at the firm.

West Mead Township Police Department initially charged Gilchrist last October with three third-degree felonies — theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

Gilchrist was charged with taking money from demolition deliveries that were taken to the firm to get rid of waste with fees for taking the waste, according to the arrest affidavit. Transactions recorded on a security tape didn't match with daily delivery slips turned in by Gilchrist, according to the affidavit.

Gilchrist was scheduled to go on trial this week in county court on all three criminal counts filed against him, but avoided trial by pleading guilty to theft by failure to make required disposition charge in a plea agreement with the Crawford County District Attorney's Office. As part of the plea agreement, the theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property charges won't be prosecuted.

Gilchrist remains free on non-monetary bond awaiting sentencing by Vardaro Sept. 4.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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