Twelve defendants in pending criminal cases entered guilty pleas in Carbon County court on Tuesday before Judge Steven R. Serfass.

Theft of checks

Justin Lee Costello, 27, of Slatington, and formerly of Jim Thorpe, pleaded guilty to one count each of theft and forgery.

He admitted taking 12 blank checks of Herbert Helmer and forging his name on three of them. He was able to cash two of the checks but failed on the third attempt after the bank had frozen the account.

The Helmer family told Serfass that they treated Costello like a grandson and welcomed him into their home, "only to be betrayed by him."

Costello apologized to the Helmer's, only after prompting by the court, and asked for a "second chance."

On the theft count Serfass placed him on probation for two years and ordered he make restitution of $1,175 for the two checks that were cashed. He must also render 100 hours of community service.

On the forgery count he was placed on probation for three years, consecutive to the theft charge, and ordered to render an additional 150 hours of community service and supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee.

Other pleas

Other defendants entering pleas included:

Dale A. Stevens, 40, of Weissport, pleaded to one count of simple assault. She was arrested on Dec. 12, 2011, for an incident at 117 Iron St., Lehighton, where she assaulted Kelly Schroeter.

At the time of the incident Stevens was on probation for other criminal charges. She has been in the county jail for the past 106 days.

Serfass sentenced her to serve three to 12 months in prison and make restitution of $200 to the victim. She was given credit of 90 days in jail and paroled. However, she still faces a probation violation hearing and more jail time, Serfass was told.

Brandon Leslie, 24, of Lansford, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy-retail theft. He was arrested on Dec. 15, 2011, by Mahoning Township police for an incident at the Walmart store in which $519.60 worth of merchandise was taken.

Serfass sentenced him to serve two to 12 months in jail, make restitution of $259.80 to Walmart, representing half of the total taken, and render 50 hours of community service.

Leslie has been in jail on a probation violation in Lehigh County and has a detainer on him from that county.

Jacob J. Canzoneri, 29, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of driving under the influence (DUI) of a controlled substance. He was arrested on Dec. 4, 2008, along Patterson St., in Lansford. He was previously placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) probation program for first time offenders but was revoked from it for failure to complete all conditions.

Serfass placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300, get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, and render 36 hours of community service.

Courtney Louise Correll, 23, of White Haven, pleaded to one count of DUI. She was arrested on Nov. 29, 2011, along Blakeslee Blvd., in Lehighton. Given a test, the result was .14BAC.

She was sentenced to serve five days to six months in jail, a fine of $300, one year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service. On a summary charge she was fined $25 and costs.

She will begin the jail term on April 2 at 9 a.m.

Joseph Hollan, 36, of Lansford, pleaded to one count of DUI, a first offense. He was arrested on Jan. 4 along SR443 in Lehighton. Given a test, the result was .10BAC.

Serfass placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service.

Lori A. Kipikasa, 39, of Weatherly, pleaded to one count of DUI. She was arrested on Dec. 23, 2010, along Main St., in Weatherly. Given a test, the result was .16BAC.

Sentencing was deferred.

Jonathan Oakes, 22, of Lansford, pleaded to one count of driving without a license, a summary offense. A DUI charge was dropped.

Serfass imposed a fine of $200 and costs.

Katelyn Roth, 23, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of DUI of a controlled substance. She was arrested on Nov. 4, 2011, along the Lentz Trail in Jim Thorpe following a one vehicle crash. Her car left the road and crashed into a utility pole.

At the time of the arrest Roth was on probation and spent three months in jail for the violation.

Serfass sentenced her to serve 72 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $1,000, license suspended for a year, get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use, make restitution for damages to the pole to PPL for $1,949.01, and render 25 hours of community service.

She will begin the jail term on March 30 at 9 a.m.

Kareem D. Sanders, 28, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count each of possession of a firearm with manufacturer number altered, and unsworn falsification. He was arrested on Sept. 15, 2011, by Lansford police.

Serfass deferred sentencing and ordered the adult probation office to prepare a presentence investigation (PSI) report.

Theresa Lee Shellhamer, 42, of Beaver Meadows, pleaded to one count of DUI. She was arrested along SR4004, in Junedale, Banks Township, by state police after being involved in an accident in which her vehicle crashed into a utility pole. Given a test, the result was .24BAC.

Serfass sentenced her to serve 48 hours to six months in jail, a fine of $500, one year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation, and render 25 hours of community service.

She will begin the jail term on April 13 at 9 a.m.

Gregory Neil Tobin, 55, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock system. He was arrested on Nov. 4, 2011, along First St., in Lehighton.

Serfass ordered he pay a fine of $300.

Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs, which average close to $1,000, and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.