Lancaster County District Attorney pushes for tougher sentences for convicted burglars

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – When speaking about convicted burglars Lancaster County District Attorney, Craig Stedman, doesn’t feel they always get the punishment they deserve.

Stedman told ABC 27 News that it’s possible for convicted burglars to only spend a few months in jail. He said that’s not doing enough to stop violent criminals who can target random people.

“Lately, what we’ve seen is ones that have been extremely violent and resulted in death,” he said when talking about the recent trend he has seen when it comes to home burglaries.

In 2014, Nicole Mathewson, a Lancaster County teacher, was killed when two men broke into her home.

“From all we can tell it was completely random,” Stedman said about the case.

The District Attorney believes the problem will only get worse as addicts look to fuel heroin and other drug addictions, which is one of the reasons he’s pushing for tougher sentences.

“Random or not random you have a right to be free from someone from breaking into your house,” Stedman said, “That’s your castle.”

House Bill 2018 calls for a minimum sentence of 5 years for convicted burglars who use a weapon and 10 years for anyone who targets folks older than 62-years-old.

“Burglary is a premeditated crime,” Stedman explained. “You have to pick the house you want to break into, you have to break into the house, you have to decide to go through, room to room. You have all kinds of time to change your mind.”

Chief Brian Wiczkowski of the West Lampeter Township Police Department said burglaries are the crimes he sees most often. He believes tougher sentences mean safer neighborhoods.

“One thing that’s inarguable is that if people are locked up they can’t commit that crime again while they are locked up,” he said.

“What house burglars do is they take away a lot of people’s sense of security,” Stedman added. “No community is going to flourish if people don’t want to live there and they don’t feel safe in their homes.”

Stedman also told ABC 27 News that burglars without weapons should also face tougher sentences.


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