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Panties thief is granted probation

September 24, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A Frederick, Md., man who admitted in July that he broke into a pregnant woman's house in March and stole three pairs of her panties was ordered Thursday to serve 18 months of supervised probation.

Steven Lee Myers, 29, whose last known address was 5903 Quinn Road in Frederick, pleaded guilty on July 27 to fourth-degree burglary.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell on Thursday sentenced Myers to three years in state prison, but suspended that sentence and ordered him to spend 18 months on supervised probation.

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Myers' therapist, Dr. Dennis Hilker, testified Thursday that he has been counseling Myers since he was charged. Hilker said Myers has a fetishism that "has to do with women's underwear."

One of the conditions of Myers' probation is that he continue his treatment, McDowell ordered.

Myers' attorney, James DeLorenzo, asked McDowell to strike his client's earlier guilty plea and grant Myers probation before judgment since his client sought treatment and had no prior criminal record.

Probation before judgment is a conditional avoidance of imposition of sentence after conviction. Failure to satisfy the condition may result in imposition of sentence after a finding of violation of probation.

"This will remain as a conviction on his record," McDowell said.

On March 9, at about 1 a.m., Myers was found in the woman's closet by her boyfriend, who held Myers until Hagerstown Police Department officers arrived at the house in the 1500 block of Violet Drive, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Steven Kessell said during Myers' plea hearing.

Kessell has said that the woman, her boyfriend and her boyfriend's mother returned home from a late meal and found the woman's dresser drawer, containing panties, lying on the bedroom floor.

Myers told police he climbed a fence to get to the woman's house, pulled open an unlocked sliding glass door and "snooped around" for about 10 minutes before the family returned home, Kessell has said. He has said that Myers stole three pairs of the woman's panties because he thought the woman "was cute."

McDowell ordered that Myers pay $775 for damages to the fence and a window. Hilker said that Myers has offered to pay the out-of-pocket expense for the victim's psychological treatment if needed to deal with the emotional aspects of the case.

The victim, her voice shaky, told McDowell, "Every time I turn the corner, I am still afraid that somebody's going to be there."

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