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Woman sentenced for holiday package thefts

November 10, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The third of three woman convicted of stealing holiday packages last year will be spending the holidays in jail after being sentenced Wednesday in Franklin County Court.

Cindy Lou Hykes, 33, of Chambersburg was sentenced by Judge John R. Walker to two to 23 months in the county prison and seven more years on probation on one felony and one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property.

"It caused a lot of inconvenience and heartache ... kids that didn't get Christmas presents, people that didn't get their high blood pressure medicine," Walker told Hykes, who pleaded guilty to the charges in August.

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Chambersburg and Pennsylvania State Police had charged Hykes and two other women, Vonnie Stopyra and Karen L. Beam, with following a delivery truck in November and December of 2004 and stealing packages as they were dropped off at houses in the borough and Greene Township.

Stopyra also is awaiting trial on charges she stole cash from a yard sale this summer.

"My children need me as much as I need them," Hykes wrote in a letter read to Walker by her attorney, Clinton Barkdoll. She stated in the letter that she had lost her job and her home as a result of her actions. In the letter, she stated she received gifts from Beam and Stopyra, not knowing that they were stolen, although police records indicate she participated in some of the package thefts.

"Please don't send my Mom to jail, because if you do, I'll cry," Walker said, reading from a letter submitted by one of Hykes' children. The boy stated in the letter that his mother had not stolen anything.

Walker said her son "has to learn that receiving stolen property is just as bad as stealing."

Walker ordered Stopyra to pay her share of restitution to the more than 40 victims. Assistant District Attorney John Lisko said that figure is approximately $10,000.

The stolen merchandise ranged from items costing just a few dollars to a set of Celtic rings costing more than $5,000, although court records indicated that some victims had recovered their property.

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