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Woman sentenced in series of Pa. church burglaries

July 28, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg woman who pleaded guilty to taking part in a series of church burglaries last summer was sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court to seven years on probation.

Brittany Renee Thomas, 19, of 281 Lincoln Way West, was sentenced by Judge Douglas Herman on charges of theft and criminal conspiracy to commit burglary.

Ronnie Lynn Stiver, 27, of 4622 Washington Meadows Lane, Waynesboro, Pa., earlier this year was sentenced to two to 10 years in state prison for his role in the church break-ins. He pleaded guilty in February to institutional vandalism, burglary, theft and criminal trespass, according to court records.

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The case of another suspect, Justin Levi Wagaman, 22, of 309 N. Potomac St., Waynesboro, is still pending and scheduled for the September trial term. He is charged with multiple counts of burglary, criminal conspiracy to commit burglary and theft, along with individual charges of institutional vandalism, criminal mischief and criminal trespass, according to court records.

Thomas did not get much from the break-ins, according to the discussion in court and court records. She said she got a coffeepot from one church and there was a 5-gallon jug of pennies from a church found in the home she once shared with Stiver.

Stiver and Wagaman were charged after Washington Township Police responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the Blue Ridge Summit (Pa.) Library on the morning of Aug. 16. The inside of the library had been vandalized, police said.

Thomas, according to courts records, was along when several churches were broken into on the night of Aug. 9 and 10. Stiver and Wagaman also were charged with a burglary at the Ragged Edge Library in Guilford Township in early August and other church burglaries later that month, according to police affidavits.

The churches were Greencastle (Pa.) Baptist Church; Hollowell Brethren In Christ Church, Waynesboro; Blue Rock United Brethren In Christ Church, Waynesboro; West Brethren In Christ Church, Chambersburg; Pleasant View Mennonite Church, Chambersburg; St. Rita Catholic Church, Blue Ridge Summit; and Grace Brethren Church, Chambersburg. Good Shepherd Ministries and Miller's Mennonite Church, both in Washington County, also were listed in the affidavits of probable cause.

Herman ordered Thomas to pay $705 in restitution to four of the churches.

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