Bath Salts Robber Sentenced To Three Years
Judge also chastises store for selling "bath salts"
Lake County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Gibson said he tried to figure out what changed Paul Koehler from a drug user into an armed robber.
Gibson was sentencing Koehler, 24, of Mentor, on counts of armed robbery and possession of criminal tools Tuesday.
"The only wild card I can come up with is the bath salts," Gibson said.
The drug -- sometimes called "bath salts" or "herbal incense" -- is a synthetic drug that was legal at the time of Koehler's theft but will be illegal in October.
Gibson said it was this drug that changed Koehler from a drug user to the person who was arrested in a factory while wearing only his underwear.
"When I look at how they found you, I wish they could put a video of that in every store that sells bath salts, because that's where it ends," Gibson said.
When Koehler had an opportunity to speak in his defense at the hearing, he made no excuses.
"I understand, whatever sentence you have to give me, I understand," Koehler said. "This crime was a very bad crime. I'd just like to get treatment if I can."
Gibson sentenced Koehler to three years in prison. He could have given him as many as nine years behind bars.
However, the judge also criticized the store for ever selling bath salts. He was especially upset that the store asked to be repaid for the $1,500 in drugs that were stolen.
"I was incensed by their request to be paid for 'incense,'" Gibson said. "If it was heroin or cocaine that was taken off their shelves, they wouldn't ask for restitution."
Gibson did order Koehler to repay the money he took from the store. Koehler stole $1,350 but $679 of that was found when he was arrested.