A Troy man who posed as a fake firefighter from Clark County was released early from prison following a hearing Friday, April 13, in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Jeremy Aldrich, 25, pleaded guilty in January to felony forgery for forging the signature of a Clark County fire official to obtain special license plates and for having a fake ID. He was sentenced in February to eight months in prison on each of two forgery convictions and ordered to serve the sentences concurrently.
Troy police began investigating Aldrich late last year after an officer saw him driving a Ford Crown Victoria with red and white flashing lights on the roof. After additional checks, the officer was told by a police captain that local firefighters had reported seeing the car at ambulance calls in town and that the driver claimed to be with the Springfield Township Fire Department in Clark County.
Aldrich said at his sentencing that he wanted to help people but also had kept the activity secret from friends and family.
During Friday’s hearing on Aldrich’s motion for judicial release, Judge Jeannine Pratt talked with him about his two and one half months in prison and his plans, if released.
Aldrich, who cried during the hearing, said his eyes were opened by his time incarcerated. He said he missed his wife and children and being able to talk to his wife whenever he wanted. “I makes me realize that I don’t ever want to come back here,” he said via a video hook up between the prison and the courtroom.
“I have more support people than I ever thought I had.”
Pratt said she considered in her decision letters received from Aldrich’s wife and his pastor at a Troy church.
Prosecutors declined to comment on the motion.
Pratt said Aldrich had presented a plan to address factors that led to his conviction, including mental health issues, and had participated in prison programming.
She suspended the rest of the sentence and placed Aldrich on five years of community control sanctions with several conditions. Among the conditions was that he receive a mental health assessment and follow the assessor’s recommendations, continue working with his pastor on counseling, meet weekly with a certified mental health therapist, find a job within 30 days and perform 50 hours of community service.
Pratt said he put Aldrich in prison to get his attention. “This is going to be a long road for you. Keep in mind that the court is watching you,” she said.
“I really appreciate what you are doing for me,” Aldrich told Pratt.
The judge at the sentencing hearing reviewed his criminal record including juvenile adjudications for domestic violence, theft, identify fraud and adult convictions for inducing panic - a bomb threat in Clark County - and making a false alarm.