Attorney: Case ‘politically motivated’

A Port Clinton defense attorney has accused the Ottawa County prosecutor’s office of fast-tracking an attempted burglary case to favor the victim, state Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba.
Alex Green
Dec 18, 2013
The suspect — Alexander Reitzel, 19, of Port Clinton — was indicted Thursday on two counts of attempted burglary. The indictment came five days after he allegedly tried to break into Redfern’s $845,000 home in Catawba Island Township. The home is currently up for sale.

Reitzel’s attorney, Tom DeBacco, said the indictment came much too quickly.

“(Reitzel) gets indicted within five days for two felonies of the third degree,” DeBacco said. “It’s wrong, it’s politically motivated”

DeBacco said he believes Reitzel is innocent and is being treated unfairly because of Redfern’s political stature.

“In no way did he try to break into Chris Redfern’s house,” DeBacco said. “There was a ‘For sale’ sign in the front yard. You figure it out”

Redfern said he was in Pennsylvania when he randomly decided to watch the video surveillance that monitors the interior and exterior of his Catawba home. The video is accessible remotely.

“The way some people use their phone to look at Facebook or Twitter, I’m one of those crazy people who watches my video surveillance cameras” Redfern said.

He said he watched the surveillance footage for about an hour, during which time Reitzel was allegedly on his property.   

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan’s office provided copies of the video footage to the Register.

The video, about 45 minutes long, shows a man in a red-and-black jacket on the property at various points, at times fiddling with the knobs to doors at the back porch.

At one point, another man is seen with the suspect.

Reitzel later told Catawba Island police he saw a “For sale” sign in the yard, and he was peering through the windows and back door to look at the home’s interior, according to police.

Redfern and Mulligan denied any allegations of collusion; they both said the video footage provided sufficient evidence for an indictment.

“To suggest that in some way I manipulated the system — I’m looking for Mr. DeBacco to apologize,” Redfern said.

Mulligan said grand jury indictments are handed down every two to four weeks.

“(The accusation) is unsubstantiated” Mulligan said, adding the indictment was justified based on evidence he gathered with help from assistant prosecutor Andrew Bigler and his staff.

“(Reitzel) was caught in the act,” Mulligan said. “He was observed by the homeowner over the course of an hour, watching in real time”

Reitzel was released from the Ottawa County jail Monday on $30,000 bond.



A lot of good points on all sides, that's why I said it will be interesting in how it turns out. Do I think the kid was up to no good?- yeah. I think if I had a house for sale and called the cops with this same info they would probably ask; anything broken?- no. anything stolen?- no. any property damage?- no. OK- call us back when an actual crime has occurred. At the same time I don't want to uphold the actions of a potential burglar. Interesting


Don't know about anybody else but I've stopped to look at cars for sale and looked through the windows and jiggled the handle to look inside- Dang, I'm a felon and didn't even realize it! Better turn myself in soon. Still can't get over the fact that he watched for 45 minutes when the average person would have called the cops after about 4.5 seconds if they felt someone was up to no good.

Finn Finn

Politically motivated, absolutely. Mulligan and Redfern can protest all they want but no one believes them. In a few years, Mulligan will look to Redfern for pay back, probably some kind of judgeship. And the "I'm looking for Mr. DeBacco to apologize" is the typical Redfern M.O. When being attacked, immediately go on the offensive. Not very inventive, but pure Redfern.

Darwin's choice

If only refern would/could act as quickly as a rep. for the area!!


Ok, first off, the poor 82 year old Ottawa County lady that was exploited for over $200,000, is STILL waiting for an indictment, and it's been over a year!! There are multiple crimes in that case, a lot more serious than this "attempt " at a "possible" burglary.

And second, ATTN Tom DeBacco, don't worry, Mulligan has a losing record as a trial lawyer. I'm sure you remember the PC teacher/coach that he had 82 counts on and not a single one stuck! You will have fun with this one!

And last but not least, YES, it is all politics, if Redfern was a Republican, he would be sitting there waiting for a return call from Mulligan, like the old lady has been for a year.

White Owl

LOL! However, to make it all the more obvious that this is political, Mulligan met with the alleged thief's attorney searching for reasons to avoid indicting his client! Didn't meet with DeBacco though before indicting, arresting and jailing this kid.

It would be great if DeBacco took this to the box, won, and sued Redfern and Mulligan for malicious prosecution. Let's hear Redfern's explanation of why he waited 45 minutes and just didn't ask the police to check it out and ask the young man to leave. As Redfern himself admits: He's "crazy".


"Ok, first off, the poor 82 year old Ottawa County lady that was exploited for over $200,000, is STILL waiting for an indictment, and it's been over a year!!"
"Elderly exploitation case ongoing"
"A Norwalk man who stole $11,000 from an 78-year-old man he met at Alcoholics Anonymous received a suspended prison sentence, but was ordered to repay the money, according to Ottawa County court records."
"Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan has yet to make up his mind on a possible $200,000 theft from the elderly case. But that’s not to say he hasn’t done anything. In an unorthodox pre-trial, pre-charges move, Mulligan sent a letter and all his evidence to the suspect’s attorney last week."

"Mulligan refused to talk about his strategy on the record, but Wisehart confirmed he received a letter and a thick case file from the prosecutor."

"According to Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office reports, a grand jury meeting Feb. 26 could decide whether a Catawba woman, and possibly another person, face charges after they were accused by family members of an 81-year-old widow of ripping off hundreds of thousands of dollars over a two-year period."


Ahhh, Mulligans infamous form letter! He sends the same letter out to perps, and tells them they have 30 days to respond to the accusations! I have seen the letter, he changes the names and possible charges, and basically let's you fix the wrong, so that he doesn't have to do his job!

I have never seen a more LAZY prosecutor in my life!!

Stay classy Ottawa County, Vote Democrat!! Even if they are losers!


Trespass? Okay, maybe. But attempted burglary? Really? Okay. Did the investigation show damage to doors or windows where the alleged burglar attempted to enter? No? Does the video show more than a "Curious George" peeping through windows or doors? Then how was burglary "attempted?"

Political. Gee, you think?

P.S. I can't afford an $845,000 house either, but that doesn't mean curiosity hasn't prompted me to go on tours of homes I'd never be able to buy! In fact, I'm not in the market right now for a house at ANY price, but do I still occasionally check out open houses? Sure! It's a great idea-generator if nothing else, and something to do on an otherwise dull afternoon at worst. So let's not pretend that an actual intent to buy (or a lack thereof) has anything to do with anything here, either!

Capt. Ford

Catawba Isl Twp ploice report via the News Hearald says even the cobwebs are still in place.


Darwin, you are too funny but true. How does someone watch a video for 45 minutes and not call the cops out right way to take a look see?

BULLISDEEP's picture

That guy was not looking at the house. He was there up to no good . The video's are on other sites , find the 45.07 one and see for yourself. BTW no dog ,and he was talking to someone.


Was he talking to himself?

BULLISDEEP's picture

Maybe ,or on a Bluetooth?


"Was he talking to himself?"

Maybe talking on a cell phone.


Was he talking to himself?

The Big Dog's back

Politically motivated? I sure know the comments from the right wingnuts are politically motivated.


I haven't trusted or liked Redfern since he came into view in the political arena. this is a bogus indictment. I have looked in homes for sale or rent and looked for over 15 minutes on the property, I wasn't trying to break in and steal anything. this is just wrong. Come on Chris get to work doing something for your constituents not just the liberal left butt smooching!

Lots of photos, take a tour of the home.

"In Danbury Township, business is business or it's something else"
"Former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton misused about $10,000 in taxpayer money, purchasing items like shoes, neckties, belts, cigars, Cedar Point passes and prescription medications, a state audit found."
"A Port Clinton administrator faces two felony charges in connection with stolen city-owned scrap metal."
"An 81-year-old Marblehead woman's good intentions could cost her $200,000, but it will be up to Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan whether anyone will face criminal charges."
"Pot growing case tossed Appeals Court: Police manufactured evidence"

White Owl

Thank you for providing the very interesting links.

The second article from 2012 and former Sheriff Bratton's misappropriation of public funds raises some interesting questions concerning Bratton's purchase with public funds of Rx drugs on the internet when he had prescription insurance through the county.

I suspect Bratton bought drugs on the internet to avoid detection. His doctor would have no record of the drugs; the insurance company would have no record of the drugs; and most importantly the Ohio drug reporting system on controlled substances would have no record of the drugs.

It is not too late to have Bratton criminally charged for his blatant theft in office. The Ohio Ethics Commission has a duty to investigate and along with the Auditor of State could act as special prosecutors as it is obvious Mulligan should have recused himself. In any event it's an outstanding example of Mulligan's double standards.


politically motivated, no doubt about it. With that said why can't all cases move that fast and save millions of dollars in court cost.Chrisrobert Redfordfern is looking for an apology a politician looking for an apology? that is downright funny, I am glad he has nothing better to do than sit and watch a blank video for so long.


I never knew someone could be SECRETLY indicted before being arrested!


Why then Louise, do you think they call them SECRET INDICTMENTS?????

Darwin's choice

The criminal is in the center photo above, correct?


Yes. You can easily tell by the shifty eyes and the giant 5-head so prominent in the picture.


That is correct!


This is Mr. Redfern's HOME - whatever you think about his politics, his family was on vacation in Pennsylvania when this happened. I want to know how any of you would feel if a 19 year old high school junior came up an embankment, climbed over a wrought iron fence and tried to open your doors and windows for 45 minutes. This kid, along with another person can be HEARD on the video but not seen, trying for FORTY FIVE MINUTES, going from windows to door to door trying to OPEN them. And if you actually watch and listen to the video, you can hear very loud banging as if someone is hitting the door with something. Tom Debacco's house is for sale. Does that mean that strangers can go to HIS house and try opening doors and windows for FORTY FIVE MINUTES? He has a family, children... you people think this is okay? People get arrested every day for stuff like this, this one is only on your radar because the victim is high profile. Stop being a hypocrite. If your home was being violated, if you had small children and a family to worry about, I think you would want some culpability for a stranger violating your home like that.

And for those of you who think he "watched" for 45 minutes without calling the cops, you clearly don't understand how Dropcam works. It stores video for up to 7 days. It appears that the homeowner called the cops when he first saw it happening - it had been going on for a period of time that he was able to capture and give to the authorities.

And in case you all are wondering... this is not this young man's first and only legal problem. Jeesh, people.