Man jailed for bur­glar­ies in three coun­ties

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NOR­RIS­TOWN >> The “ring­leader” be­hind a string of more than two dozen res­i­den­tial bur­glar­ies that pri­mar­ily tar­geted fam­i­lies of Asian de­scent in Montgomery, Ch­ester and Bucks coun­ties is on his way to state prison.

Dominic Carter, 31, of the 8400 block of Ba­yard Street, Philadel­phia, was sen­tenced in Montgomery County Court to 15 to 40 years in state prison af­ter he pleaded guilty to mul­ti­ple felony charges of bur­glary in con­nec­tion with 31 res­i­den­tial break-ins that oc­curred in the three coun­ties be­tween July 2015 and Fe­bru­ary 2016.

The sen­tence was im­posed by Judge Wil­liam R. Car­pen­ter, who also or­dered Carter to pay $272,733 in resti­tu­tion to the vic­tims of the bur­glar­ies.

“He was the main ac­tor in these bur­glar­ies, the ring­leader. The ma­jor­ity of the bur­glar­ies tar­geted Asian fam­i­lies in the mul­ti­ple coun­ties. They tar­geted these fam­i­lies be­cause they had busi­nesses in and around Philadel­phia and sus­pected that they had large amounts of cash and jew­elry lo­cated in their homes,” said As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Rachel Becker, who sought the lengthy prison term against Carter.

“With res­i­den­tial bur­glar­ies, it’s the big­gest in­va­sion of pri­vacy that any­one can imag­ine, hav­ing a stranger come into your home and ran­sack your valu­ables and mem­o­ries,” said Becker, adding the sen­tence is sig­nif­i­cant in that it re­flects the enor­mous im­pact that Carter’s crimes had on the vic­tims.

The bur­glar­ies oc­curred in Whitpain, Up­per Merion, Worces­ter, Montgomery, Chel­tenham and Abington town­ships in Montgomery County; in Northamp­ton, Lower Southamp­ton, Bensalem and Lower Make­field town­ships in Bucks County; and in Tredyf­frin Town­ship, Ch­ester

County, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

A Whitpain Town­ship res­i­dent re­ported a Rolex watch val­ued at $20,000 and up to $100,000 in other valu­ables was stolen. One Northamp­ton Town­ship, Bucks County, res­i­dent re­ported $19,794 in valu­ables went miss­ing from his home.

While Carter was the

leader of the bur­glary ring, he had as­sis­tance at times from four oth­ers, some who acted as “look­outs,” who are still await­ing court ac­tion on bur­glary and con­spir­acy re­lated charges.

Dur­ing the break-ins, the bur­glars tar­geted cash or de­signer hand­bags, col­lectibles and ex­pen­sive jew­elry, items that could be dis­posed of eas­ily, ei­ther in pawn shops or sell­ing them on the streets.

“We be­lieve this was a crime spree fueled by greed and just a de­sire to take

from oth­ers,” Becker said.

Dur­ing the bur­glar­ies, which usu­ally oc­curred dur­ing day­time hours, Carter would of­ten travel in a white work van and of­ten wore hard hats and con­struc­tion uni­forms “to try and hide in plain sight in these neigh­bor­hoods,” Becker said. The bur­glars used tools to pry open doors or win­dows and even used a lad­der to gain en­try to the homes, court doc­u­ments in­di­cate.

Court doc­u­ments in­di­cate Carter had pre­vi­ous

bur­glary con­vic­tions in Philadel­phia for which he served state prison time and was paroled on Aug. 28, 2014. Carter was still on pa­role at the time he em­barked on the most re­cent bur­glary spree and his sen­tence for the lat­est crimes in­cluded a 10-year manda­tory prison term be­cause they rep­re­sented a so-called sec­ond-strike of­fense.

Carter now faces a hear­ing be­fore state pa­role of­fi­cials and po­ten­tially faces ad­di­tional prison time for vi­o­lat­ing his pre­vi­ous sen­tence.

Dur­ing one bur­glary ar­rest in Philadel­phia, Carter was found to be in pos­ses­sion of a note­book con­tain­ing the names and ad­dresses of Asian fam­i­lies, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Becker praised in­ves­ti­ga­tors for solv­ing the string of bur­glar­ies.

“It was a very long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a true multi-ju­ris­dic­tional ef­fort, led by Abington and Whitpain po­lice de­part­ments. They did a fan­tas­tic job us­ing sur­veil­lance tech­niques and other in­ves­tiga­tive tech­niques to track down who was re­spon­si­ble for these bur­glar­ies,” said Becker.

De­tec­tives, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers, were able to link Carter’s cell­phone to be­ing in the area of the bur­glar­ies at the times they oc­curred. De­tec­tives also had sur­veil­lance cam­era footage that as­sisted them in iden­ti­fy­ing the van that was ob­served in the area of some of the bur­glar­ies.

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