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Burglar's plea resolves Clear Spring crime spree

August 17, 2000

Burglar's plea resolves Clear Spring crime spree



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


A Westminster, Md., man pleaded guilty to five counts of first-degree burglary in Washington County Circuit Court Tuesday, closing the books on an early 2000 crime spree that targeted homes in the Clear Spring area.

When he was arrested in Carroll County in late March, Michael Patrick Sandel, now 24, at first denied any involvement when interviewed by Investigator Roy Harsh of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

He later admitted he and two others carried out the burglaries, sold the items they stole and used the money to pay bar bills and make car payments, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

"He told police he didn't want to 'mess' in his own back yard," Lochbaum said of the reason Sandel and his accomplices committed the burglaries in Washington and Frederick counties, and not in Carroll County.

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Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright ordered Sandel held without bond while a pre-sentence investigation is conducted.

First-degree burglary carries a maximum 20-year sentence on each count.

Co-defendant Kevin Andrew Beal, 18, of Westminster, and a juvenile are awaiting trial, court records said.

Lochbaum said three people would knock on doors during daylight hours and if people answered they would ask for "Richie."

If no one answered, they would break in.

The five burglaries to which Sandel pleaded guilty include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> March 16 at the Swope residence on Clopper Road. A glass door was broken, the house ransacked and two guns and $400 in cash were taken.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> March 8 at the Reed home in Big Pool. The front door was kicked in and a watch and $200 were stolen.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> March 20 at the Mauck home on Broadfording Road. Entry was gained through a window and door, antiques were smashed and a gold necklace was taken.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> March 20 at the Baker residence on Boyd Road. The back door was pried open and gold jewelry, cash and a heater taken.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> March 20 at the Hose residence on Gossard Mill Road. Entry was gained through a sliding window and six guns and money totaling $4,192.

In exchange for the pleas Tuesday, additional burglary and theft charges were dismissed.

Fingerprints were taken at the scenes and later matched to Sandel, who has a criminal record in Carroll County, Lochbaum said.

Search warrants served in Carroll County resulted in the recovery of stolen property.

The Washington County Sheriff's Department was assisted in its investigation by Carroll and Frederick county sheriff's deputies and Maryland State Police in Westminster.

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