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Former student to be arraigned today

By Angela Hatcher, Senior Staff Writer

Jordan Benge, a 20-year-old former Miami University student and MiTech employee, is facing criminal charges for theft, voyeurism and drug trafficking.

The thefts occurred between April 15 and July 23, 2015, after the MiTech department noticed missing computers. Benge was arrested on Oct. 22. He is scheduled to be arraigned in court today.

Claire Wagner, director of university news and communications, said that although this was a major crime, it did not pose a safety risk to students and therefore was not reported on information bulletins.

The computer theft complaint was filed with the Miami University Police Department (MUPD) on July 27, 2015.

Detective Michelle Merz and Detective Walt Schneider, lead detectives on the case, began several weeks of investigation over the summer. They executed a search warrant for Benge's off-campus residence on Sept. 4, 2015.

The search warrant for Benge's residence included the ability to search and seize mobile devices.

"This is a commonplace practice in police investigations nowadays," said Detective Lieutenant Jim Bechtolt of the MUPD. "So much can be stored on a mobile device."

During the search, Detective Schneider discovered text messages on Benge's personal phone indicating Benge was selling drugs.

They also discovered marijuana in his residence, as well as scales and over 100 green plastic bags.

The police seized multiple computers, including Benge's personal one. In his residence, there were seven stolen computers total: two were still in his possession, two others were sold, and three were given away.

The value of the computers is estimated to be $9,172.

After performing a forensic analysis on Benge's personal computer, Detective Schneider discovered a video recording of Benge and a female engaging in sexual acts. The recording took place significantly earlier than the beginning of the investigation and led to a subsequent voyeurism charge.

Wayne Staton, Benge's attorney, had no comment.

Benge is currently facing charges that include a misdemeanor for the voyeurism, a felony for the drug trafficking and a felony of fourth degree for theft (or grand theft).

According to Detective Lieutenant Bechtolt and in accordance with Ohio criminal law, Benge could be facing a prison term ranging from 6-18 months for the theft charges alone.

For the misdemeanor, Benge could face up to 60 days in prison and for the drug trafficking felony he could face 6-12 months.