Carroll man gets 18 months in thefts

Thief entered garages of homes, taking tools, in string of break-ins

Ellicott City

November 27, 2001|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 23-year-old Carroll County man who stole tools, air compressors and other items from more than a half-dozen Ellicott City garages over a three-month period was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay nearly $6,000 in restitution to seven homeowners.

Daniel A. Carper of the 6200 block of Middlebury Road, Keymar, was feeding a heroin addiction when he walked into the garages, whose doors usually were left open, to take the equipment, prosecution and defense attorneys said yesterday in Howard County Circuit Court.

Carper was arrested after a patrol officer recognized his car, a burgundy Toyota Camry, as one that had been connected to an attempted burglary on Greenway Drive in Ellicott City, according to court documents.

Carper later rode with detectives and identified homes he had broken into, according to charging documents and a statement of facts read into the record yesterday.

In some of the thefts, which occurred between May and Carper's arrest July 9, the Keymar man spoke to the homeowners first, saying he was looking for the "Sweitzer" residence, prosecutors said. Many of the stolen items were pawned at Baltimore County pawnshops, according to a statement of facts.

Carper pleaded guilty yesterday to felony theft and first-degree burglary in the cases, which name seven addresses -- although prosecutors said they did not include others in charging documents.

"I realize now that drugs are not a victimless crime," he said as Howard County Circuit Judge James B. Dudley imposed a 10-year sentence and suspended all but 18 months. Dudley also sentenced Carper to five years' probation and ordered him to pay $5,804.34 in restitution to the victims.

Before handing down the sentence, Dudley warned Carper that if he violates probation, he can expect to be ordered to serve the remaining 8 1/2 years of his sentence.

"You have to understand. You just made a deal with the devil. That's me," Dudley said. "We're going to try to make sure you're on the right track, and when you get out there are no excuses."

Terrence C. McAndrews, Carper's lawyer, said his client was feeding a $200-a-day heroin habit when he was caught. Before that, he had a good job with a Sykesville construction company, McAndrews said.

"He threw everything he had away for heroin," he said.

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