In mid-November 2005, a Chantilly couple about to be evicted from their own trailer broke into their neighbor's mobile home and stole everything from a DVD player to four bars of Irish Spring bath soap.
Suspecting them of the crime, the victim told police to go next door and check them out. Turned out, she was right; and on Nov. 18, Fairfax County police charged Marcia Kim Fitzgerald, 46, and Kenneth Dean Miller, 38, of the 14500 block of Iberia Circle, with burglary and grand larceny, respectively.
IN APRIL, both pleaded guilty as charged. On May 26 in Circuit Court, Judge Gaylord Finch sentenced Miller to six months in jail for two counts of grand larceny. He also placed Miller on three years supervised probation and ordered him to make full restitution.
Then last Friday, June 2, Fitzgerald learned her punishment. She received 1 1/2 years behind bars for one count each of burglary and grand larceny.
Noting that Fitzgerald had prior convictions for possession of PCP and petit larceny, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Bob McClain told Judge Michael McWeeny that Fitzgerald broke into her neighbor's home, stole items and pawned them.
"I ask you to sentence her to some period of incarceration," said McClain. "She violated the trust of a neighbor and violated a person's space."
The crime occurred Nov. 15 in the Dulles Meadows community, off Route 50. In a Nov. 17 affidavit for a warrant to search the couple's double-wide trailer in the 14500 block of Iberia Circle, police Det. Mitchell Motafches explained the case against Miller and Fitzgerald.
He wrote that, on Nov. 15, someone smashed the window on the side door of the victim's home and entered her trailer while she was at work. The thieves then pilfered pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down.
According to the victim, they stole: An opal-and-diamond bracelet, an extensive array of both silver and gold jewelry, a digital camera, color copier, DVD player, an Intel Pentium processor, computer hardware and software, an antique .22-caliber handgun and a box of bullets. Also snatched were: Coin collections, a George Foreman grill, a jigsaw, wedding and engagement rings, and pearl necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
Seems as though the intruders were mighty hungry, too, because they also snatched: Pork chops, packages of chicken legs and breasts, sirloin steaks, a ham steak, a box of breaded shrimp, hot dogs, frozen vegetables, deli meats, gravy mix, potato chips, candy bars, cigarettes, soda, canned tuna and Kraft Miracle Whip.
The victim told Motafches neither suspect had a job, so they could use all the items they took. She also told him their home had no electrical power and they were "in the process of being evicted."
Police executed the search warrant on Nov. 17, seizing — among other things — a cigarette case with the victim's initials, plus two Kit Kat bars and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cups wrapper.
THEY ALSO delved through Miller and Fitzgerald's trash and, wrote Motafches, "Numerous items were located that matched property missing from the victim's home. One of the items was a receipt for jewelry [that] included the victim's name and signature."
In court last Friday, defense attorney Michael Davis said his client "has a problem with drugs and has had a fairly rough time in her life. Many of the things taken were food items and things that could be easily pawned to get money. She took items necessary for survival."
"It was certainly not the right thing to do, and she acknowledged it," he continued. "But she and her boyfriend were living together and they were both unemployed. They had no money and they were desperate at the time."
Davis then asked McWeeny to "please take this, and her short record, into consideration when you sentence her." He also reminded the judge that Fitzgerald won't be able to start making restitution to the victim until she's released from custody and can get a job.
Before pronouncing sentence, McWeeny asked Fitzgerald if she had anything to say. In response, she shrugged, turned the palms of her hands upward and said, "I'm very sorry for the whole thing."
The judge then sentenced her to five years in prison on each of her two charges, suspended 3 1/2 years of each sentence and ran them concurrently. That left her with 1 1/2 years to serve.
He also placed Fitzgerald on four years active probation following her release and ordered restitution to begin 30 days after she's free. And, added McWeeny: "As a special condition of your probation, you are to obtain and maintain employment."