Man charged in theft of laptops pleads guilty

November 02, 2008|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,

Paul Brian Steedman stole 32 laptop computers from his employer, a Marriottsville-based nonprofit health care company owned by nuns, prosecutors say.

The Westminster man then sold the computers on eBay, prosecutors say, listing photos of box labels with serial numbers that matched those of the stolen computers - along with a picture of himself as the seller and a user name that included his birth year.

Steedman, 28, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Howard County Circuit Court to a felony theft scheme and could now face 15 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

The state is recommending a sentence of 18 months in prison, five years of probation and about $53,000 in restitution.

In April, police responded to a theft complaint at Bon Secours Health System Inc., a nonprofit Catholic health system involved in managing hospitals, assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and home care and hospice groups in seven states.

Bon Secours representatives reported that Steedman, a former employee, had used his employee ID to gain access to a secure room on several occasions after business hours and stole about 32 laptop computers, according to charging documents. The laptops cost about $1,400 each.

Steedman had been fired for attendance problems about a week before it was discovered that the computers were stolen, according to the documents. As a customer service technician, he managed the inventory of the company's laptop computers from January 2007 to April 2008.

In May, police searched Steedman's home and charged him with 64 counts of theft. Upon questioning, he told police that he immediately sold the laptops on eBay. But officers also found other computer-related items, including monitors, RAM modules and central processing units, which Steedman admitted stealing from Bon Secours, Howard County Senior Assistant State's Attorney Lynn Marshall wrote in supporting the guilty plea.

Steedman's attorney, Glenn Klavans, declined to comment until after his client's sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 23.

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