Franklin man sentenced to prison

Area resident pleads guilty to charges connected with string of vehicle break-ins

A man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges stemming from a slew of vehicle break-ins last year.

Steven L. Wagers, 34, Franklin, pleaded guilty to resisting law enforcement, theft with a prior conviction, possession of a controlled substance, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, three counts of theft and being a habitual offender, according to court records.

Wagers was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison, with added time due to being a habitual offender, court records said.

In February 2016, residents of the Country Gate, Tracy Ridge and Peachtree neighborhoods in New Whiteland reported that their unlocked vehicles had been rummaged through and multiple items had been stolen.

Shortly after, an officer patrolling the area spotted a suspicious vehicle and tried to do a traffic stop, but the driver sped away and then ran from police.

Officers searched the vehicle and found multiple items reported stolen from about 20 vehicles in the three New Whiteland neighborhoods, including a handgun, cellphones, charging cords, flashlights, iPods, makeup, prescription pill bottles and spare change.

Police later arrested Wagers when they found him hiding in his basement with a bottle of methadone in his pocket that belonged to a resident of Country Gate, according to police reports.

Wagers had just been released from the Indiana Department of Correction months earlier after serving time for trafficking with an inmate and was wanted on a warrant for parole violation for theft at the time.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.