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Convicted thief to be evaluated

November 30, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - A Chambersburg woman who violated probation for convictions that included stealing from an unconscious hospital patient and the theft of holiday packages was in Franklin County Court on Wednesday to be resentenced for violating probation.

Karen Beam was facing a state prison sentence, but instead was sent by Judge John R. Walker to the state prison in Muncy, Pa., to be evaluated for a two-year drug treatment program know as State Intermediate Punishment (SIP).

If after the 60-day evaluation, she is accepted into the program, Beam would spend seven months in prison, then be part of a halfway house program, followed by "community-intensive supervision," Assistant Public Defender Paul Rockwell said.

Beam, 50, has been in Franklin County Jail since July, when she was charged with retail theft at Kmart in Chambersburg, according to court records. Walker was ready to sentence her to state prison two weeks ago on her probation violation when Rockwell asked the court for time to determine if she was eligible for the SIP program.

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Rockwell said during that court appearance that his client had a long history of addiction to painkillers that began when she was treated for cancer years ago. Beam also takes care of her grandchild, he said.

In October 2005, Beam was sentenced to five years of intermediate punishment, which included one year in the county prison, according to court records. She had been convicted of felony burglary for going into a patient's room at Chambersburg Hospital in April 2005 and stealing the man's wallet.

The patient's credit and debit cards were used to make purchases at stores and withdrawals from automatic teller machines, according to court records.

Beam also was convicted of unrelated misdemeanor theft charges for following delivery trucks in November and December 2004 and stealing packages from front porches, according to court records. Chambersburg and Pennsylvania State Police charged Beam and two others with stealing thousands of dollars in goods, ranging from jewelry and medicine to a toy kitchen set and an Elvis tote bag, according to Chambersburg Police Department and Pennsylvania State Police affidavits.

Beam's mother, Vonnie Stopyra of Chambersburg, and another woman, Cindy Lou Hykes of Greencastle, Pa., also were charged and convicted in connection with the package thefts. All three received local jail sentences for the crimes.

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