By DON AINES
5:30 PM EST, November 5, 2012
A Hagerstown man was sentenced to 23 years in state prison last week after a Washington County Circuit Court jury found him guilty of stealing copper and other metals from a vacant furniture business.
The jury took less than 20 minutes on Thursday to find Ronnie Eugene Domer, 41, formerly of 277 S. Potomac St., Apt. 3, guilty of second-degree burglary, theft and malicious destruction of property. Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. gave Domer a straight sentence, without any time suspended, court records said.
During the two-day trial there was testimony that Domer and accomplices used walkie-talkies to communicate and lookout for police during an Oct. 12, 2011, burglary at the former Statton Furniture building on East First Street, Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen said Friday.
Two people, Brehann Smith and William G. Green, both of Hagerstown, entered guilty pleas to criminal conspiracy to commit second-degree burglary in March, Hansen said. Their sentencing hearings were delayed until after Domer’s case was concluded, she said.
On Oct. 12 Hagerstown police got a call from a concerned citizen who told them that Domer had left his home at about 1 a.m. and returned home with several other people at about 4 a.m., the application for statement of charges said.
Police went to Domer’s apartment later that morning where they saw a box of electrical parts and a bolt cutter, the charging document said. When a man, who was not Domer, answered the door, officers saw a bag with sliced electrical wire casings inside the apartment, the document said.
During the investigation, police learned the Statton Furniture building had been broken into between May and October, with copper wiring, pipes and other metals being stolen, the charging document said. The owner of the building told police that damage to the building, including walls, fixtures and water damage, amounted to about $100,000, the document said.
Investigators believed the building had been broken into more than once, the charging document said.
A search of Domer’s apartment turned up electrical equipment, wire insulation, bolt cutters, a pipe wrench and three 5-gallon buckets with Statton Furniture stamped on the sides containing electrical parts, the charging document said.
Investigators found that Domer sold $1,425.60 in copper and aluminum to a metal recycling business on Oct. 12, 2011. Between January 2011 and Oct. 12, 2011, Domer sold metal to the recycling business 24 times for a total of $17,572.05, the charging document said.
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