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Pa. man sentenced in thefts from vehicles

April 04, 2001

Pa. man sentenced in thefts from vehicles



CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania man charged in connection with car break-ins last year will spend 11 to 23 1/2 months in Franklin County Prison.

Earl Spence Harding, Jr., of 623 Market St. in Lewisburg, Pa., was sentenced Wednesday on multiple charges of breaking into dozens of vehicles, as well as some homes and a church. Harding and another man admitted their involvement in the thefts, which all occurred between January and June 2000, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

In addition to removing cash, compact discs and compact disc players from the cars, Harding, 27, also broke into United Brethren Church in Southampton Township last May and took a jar of money, according to the affidavit.

Harding used the money to support a drug habit, said Jim Reed, Harding's attorney.

"Although it's not an excuse, he had a severe drug problem at the time," he said.

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Reed said Harding is doing well in rehabilitation.

"I understand a lot of these criminal acts were due to an underlying problem," said Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol Van Horn. "But you have affected many, many peoples' lives," she said.

Harding will serve eight years on probation after serving his sentence at the county jail.

"That's probably a bigger rope around your neck. You must follow the provisions and stay clean," Van Horn said.

Van Horn sentenced Harding to serve from five to 11 1/2 months in Franklin County Prison on the charge of conspiracy to commit burglary. She sentenced him to six to 12 months for theft.

The sentences for four other counts of thefts totaled eight years of probation.

Harding also will have to pay more than $1,000 in fines to the county, make an undetermined amount of restitution to more than 50 people and undergo drug, alcohol and mental health programs as directed by the Franklin County Probation Board.

- Stacey Danzuso

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