An Upper Gwynedd man and Hatfield Borough woman were arrested and charged with 58 different counts of burglary, trespassing, theft and possession of drug paraphernalia. The two appeared in court yesterday in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Each of the defendants has prior convictions and served jail time for prior convictions of burglary and receiving stolen property. They admitted to numerous residential burglaries in and around Hatfield Township including Franconia Township, Lower Salford Township and Salford Township.
Of the 58 charges, 46 are felonies:
- 12 counts of felony burglary
- 1 count of felony conspiracy to commit burglary
- 10 counts of felony criminal trespassing
- 1 count of felony conspiracy to commit criminal trespass
- 10 counts of felony theft by unlawful taking
- 1 count of conspiracy felony to commit theft
- 10 counts of felony receiving stolen property
- 1 count of conspiracy to commit receiving stolen property
- 10 misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief-damage to property
- 1 count of use or possession of drug paraphernalia
- 1 count of conspiracy to use or possess drug paraphernalia
While yesterday's charges totaled a whopping 58, the list could have been longer. Several charges were dropped including several counts of burglary and conspiracy. In addition, their bail was reduced from $500,000 to $99,000 cash. The reduction in bail allows the county to move them from a maximum security prison and work at a local jail.
In addition, the lower bail will hopefully allow victims to receive some sort of restitution for their lost and damaged property.
Neighbors teamed up with police to create a burglary task force and catch the two in action with video surveillance. None of the alleged victims were allowed into the courtroom yesterday. If they had, the very brief preliminary hearing could have turned into an hours-long ordeal. Many of the residents who were affected by the string of alleged burglaries since March were waiting outside the courtroom.
The next court appearance in this case is scheduled for July 18.
Source: lansdale.patch.com, "Alleged Burglary Duo Get Criminal Counts, Bail Reduced," Tony Di Domizio, June 7, 2012