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W.Va. man sentenced in Pa. safe heist

February 01, 2001

W.Va. man sentenced in Pa. safe heist



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After admitting he spent his cut of a $1.57 million safe heist on a month-long trip to Disney World, a West Virginia man was sentenced to 11 months to 23 months in county prison Wednesday.

Bruce Lee Albright, 20, of 74 Yardley Court in Martinsburg, W.Va., pleaded guilty in January to receiving stolen property for his role in the March theft of safe containing cash and other valuables from a Mercersburg, Pa., man.

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Walker agreed to the sentencing recommendation Albright and his attorney, Arthur Boyce, reached with the District Attorney's Office because Albright cooperated with the court and testified against the other men charged in the case.

At least six men were involved in the theft of the 700-pound safe from F. Martin Lininger's office in Mercersburg on March 27. The safe contained $208,000 in cash, antique jewelry, stock certificates, bonds and old coins, according to court records.

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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.

Because of his cooperation, Walker agreed to make Albright eligible for work release and stipulated the sentence could run concurrent to any federal sentence that is imposed.

The men are also facing federal charges by the U.S. Attorneys Office for conspiracy of transporting stolen goods across state lines.

"He went to bat for the commonwealth so we'll follow your agreement," Walker said.

Albright told Walker he gave $5,000 of his $20,000 share to a friend and spent the rest on hotels at Disney World.

"You must have enjoyed the rides a lot," Walker said. "Didn't you know when you handed Mickey Mouse your ticket you would spend time in Franklin County Prison?"

Albright will spend 60 months on probation once he is released to allow time for him to make $245,000 in restitution.

Last month Walker sentenced Eric Currier, 24, of Ranson, W.Va., to from one to 10 years in state prison and ordered him to pay $245,000 restitution.

In December, he sentenced Charles Decker, 19, and Kristopher Currier, 20, both of Martinsburg, W.Va., to from one to 12 years in state prison and ordered them to make restitution to the safe's owner.

All three pleaded guilty to burglary, and in exchange, the District Attorneys Office dropped charges of theft, receiving, conspiracy and criminal trespassing.

Last fall, John Anthony Bigiarelli, 21, of Martinsburg, W.Va., was sentenced to 23 months in the county jail and ordered to make restitution.

Mark A. Ortega, 22, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was to have been sentenced in West Virginia but the charges have been wrapped into the federal charges.

Charges against Jeremiah Chambers, 21, of 44 N. Main St., Mercersburg, were dropped last year for lack of evidence.

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