NEW UPDATE: Grand jury indicts Smith Jewelers arson, burglary suspect



A Logan County grand jury indicted a Bellefontaine man on a litany of felony charges in connection with last week’s burglary and arson of Smith Jewelers, 110 W. Columbus Ave.

Michael Rhodus, 24, faces a first-degree felony aggravated arson charge; fourth-degree felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property; two counts of breaking and entering and single counts of vandalism and possession of criminal tools, which are fifth-degree felonies.

The charges stem from a series of events in the early morning hours of May 6 that resulted in a theft and fire at the jeweler.

According to reports of the Bellefontaine Police Department, Mr. Rhodus forced entry into Sheila Minnich’s new law office, which adjoins the building in which Smith Jeweler is located, and damaged a wall in an attempt to enter the neighboring business.

Unable to gain access through the wall, the suspect allegedly broke into the front door of the jewelry store and stole several thousand dollars in jewelry before setting a fire in the store.

He was arrested May 7 after officers viewed video from an attempted breaking and entering at a different business and after another local business owner reported that Mr. Rhodus allegedly tried to sell what appeared to be new jewelry.

Those leads plus others helped detectives break the case, Chief Brandon Standley said.

Once apprehended, the suspect gave detectives permission to search his boarding house room at 224 N. Detroit St.

Detectives found jewelry boxes with Smith Jewelers' logo and jewelry including rings, necklaces and watches strewn about the suspect's room.