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Two more are sentenced in Pa. safe heist case

November 30, 2000

Two more are sentenced in Pa. safe heist case



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Two more of the seven men accused of stealing a safe containing $1.57 million in cash and other valuables from a Pennsylvania man in March were sentenced to the state prison Wednesday.

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Walker sentenced Charles Decker, 19, and Kristopher Currier, 20, both of Martinsburg, W.Va., to from one to 12 years in prison for burglary and ordered each to pay restitution of nearly $250,000 to the safe's owner.

Both men pleaded guilty, and in exchange, the District Attorney's Office dropped charges of theft, receiving, conspiracy and criminal trespassing.

"The bigger the crime the bigger the time," Walker said before sentencing Currier.

Walker said he proposed lengthy sentences to give the defendants time to make restitution.

Currier, 568 Rock Cliff Drive, said he received $30,000 from the theft and spent most of it on clothes and a dirt bike.

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"Well a dirt bike ain't going to do much for you in jail," Walker said.

Decker, Route 3, Box 67D, said he got $20,000 for his help.

"I deserve to be punished. I had just as much involvement as everyone," Decker said.

The 700-pound safe was stolen from F. Martin Lininger's office in Mercersburg, Pa., on March 27. The safe contained $208,000 in cash, antique jewelry, stock certificates, bonds and old coins, according to court records.

Lininger, a retired funeral home director, said the safe had been in his family's office for about 75 years. That March weekend, thieves wheeled the safe out the door and into an alley, where it was loaded into a vehicle and driven away, police said.

They later moved the safe to one of the men's Martinsburg home.

"You are a young man with no prior criminal offenses. You didn't steal a TV, you stole a jackpot," Walker said to Decker.

Walker said he would not sentence the men to Franklin County Prison because the length of the sentences and their work records did not make them good candidates for work release.

Both men have been in Franklin County Prison since May, and they will earn credit for the time they have served.

Currier's brother, Eric Currier, 24, 106 Appletree Garden, Ranson, W.Va., will be sentenced Wednesday.

Bruce Lee Albright, 20, of 106 Silversmith Lane, Martinsburg, W.Va., could face a trial during the January trial term on charges of burglary, theft, receiving, conspiracy and criminal trespassing.

Last month, Franklin County Judge Carol Van Horn sentenced a fifth defendant, John Anthony Bigiarelli, to 23 months in county jail and ordered he pay restitution of about $245,000.

Bigiarelli, 21, of 1568 Cliff Drive, Martinsburg, W.Va., apologized for his actions and blamed them on his heroin addiction during his sentencing in October.

Cases against the other defendants, Jeremiah Chambers, 21, of 44 N. Main St., Mercersburg, and Mark A. Oretga, 22, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., are pending.

All seven also face federal charges by the U.S. District Attorney's Office for conspiracy to transport stolen goods across state lines, said Assistant District Attorney John Lisko.

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