Mount Airy father and son convicted in robberies at county High's stores 2 Puffenbargers fined $12,747 total

June 18, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

A father and son from Mount Airy were convicted yesterday of burglary and theft in the robberies of several High's convenience stores in Carroll County.

Dennis William Puffenbarger, 35, and his son, Jason Marshall Puffenbarger, 19, formerly of the 4600 block of Baltimore National Pike, pleaded not guilty to a statement of facts but were convicted in the case, which covered a series of robberies of stores in Union Bridge, Keymar and Woodbine from April to September 1992.

Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III dropped the remaining charges as part of a plea agreement.

Dennis Puffenbarger was convicted of two counts of breaking and entering a shop. He also faces charges of robbing several other High's stores in Frederick, Montgomery, and Howard counties and West Virginia, according to court records.

Jason Puffenbarger was convicted yesterday of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering because he helped his father carry a safe in the second of two robberies from the High's in Keymar.

In each of the robberies, the store safe had been taken and dumped after its contents were removed, according to court documents.

After Dennis Puffenbarger confessed to the robberies -- 18 in all -- on Dec. 2, a safe stolen from a store in Howard County was found on Route 27 near Random House in Westminster.

The second safe taken from the Keymar store on Sept. 9 was found in Thurmont.

As a former employee of High's stores in Mount Airy and Woodbine, Dennis Puffenbarger said he knew how the time release on the safes worked.

Public Defender Judson K. Larrimore, who represented both men, argued for leniency because it is their first offense.

Mr. Larrimore urged Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold to take into account circumstances in Dennis Puffenbarger's life at the time of the crimes, which were detailed in a letter the attorney gave to the judge.

"I realize I did wrong. I tried to support my family the wrong way," the senior Puffenbarger said. "I'd never been without work in 16 years."

Although the contents of the letter were not divulged in court, it appears that Dennis Puffenbarger had lost his 16-year job at House of Glass in Rockville just before the robberies.

He then began having financial difficulties.

"I've read this rather extensive letter, and it appears you've gone from one financial disaster to another," Judge Arnold said.

Mr. Larrimore said Dennis Puffenbarger stands to receive sentences of at least six years in jail on the charges he faces outside the county.

Judge Arnold sentenced the senior Puffenbarger to three years, with two years suspended, in the Division of Correction on each charge.

The sentences will run concurrently.

Dennis Puffenbarger will pay $10,487.59, and his son $2,260, in restitution to the High's Corp.

Jason Puffenbarger was given a two-year suspended sentence. Both men will be on probation for five years.

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