- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Stephen R. Kent, 42, of District Heights pleaded guilty Monday in Calvert County Circuit Court to charges in two separate cases involving burglaries in Dunkirk and Prince Frederick.
In the first case, Kent pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary. The remaining charges of fourth-degree burglary dwelling, malicious destruction of property less than $500 and theft less than $1,000 were dropped by the state as part of the plea agreement.
According to police reports, an employee of the Valvoline in Dunkirk arrived to work on June 17, 2012, and found the front door broken. Deputies responded and saw the alarm was activated, a screw driver on the ground and the store safe removed. Store surveillance video showed a white truck pull up in front of the store at 1:43 a.m. and a man, later identified as Kent, get out of the truck, walk into the store and remove the safe from the office.
In the second case, Kent pleaded guilty to theft more than $10,000 but less than $100,000. As part of the plea agreement, the state dropped the remaining charges of second-degree burglary, fourth-degree burglary, attempted theft less than $1,000, malicious destruction of property less than $500, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and several traffic offenses.
At 2:55 a.m. Aug. 22, police responded to the Valvoline in Prince Frederick for a reported audible alarm coming from the store. A witness said a silver or gray van was driving out of the store’s parking lot with its lights off and was traveling south on Route 2/4. Dfc. S. Morder saw the vehicle traveling near Route 231 and performed a traffic stop, deputies said. The driver pulled onto Duke Street and stopped the van.
Morder contacted the driver, identified as Kent, and then saw that the ignition system in the van had been destroyed. MVA inquiries showed Kent’s driver’s license had been suspended and revoked, the press release states, and Kent was taken into custody and driven to the sheriff’s office for further questioning.
Calvert Investigative Team members responded to the Valvoline, where a store manager confirmed someone had entered the office and tried to steal the business’s safe. As Det. Rich investigated the burglary, Maryland State Police Prince Frederick Barrack Sgt. S. Roach contacted the registered owner of the 2005 Ford van, valued at more than $15,000. The man allegedly said the van is his property and he uses it for his company in District Heights. The man told Roach his van was stolen, that he did not know who Kent was and that Kent was not associated with his company or family, according to original reports.
Surveillance videos from the store were reviewed, which allegedly show Kent breaking into the store just before 3 a.m. Kent was wearing a red baseball hat, a black T-shirt, jeans, white socks and gray and blue New Balance shoes, deputies said, which was the same clothing he wore during the June 17 burglary. When he was arrested, Kent was wearing these clothes.
A sentencing hearing for Kent is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 11. He faces a 15-year maximum sentence for each charge.