Convicted burglar Eugene Large Jr. said his most recent crimes were the most stupid and ignorant things he's done.
"First of all, I want to apologize to everyone involved," the Norwalk man said in court Wednesday. "This did stem from pill addiction and heroin addiction."
In late January, Large, 44, of 4295 Ohio 601, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one charge of tampering with evidence. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count each of theft and receiving stolen property.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced to five years in prison. Credited with spending 117 days in the Huron County Jail, Large also must reimburse two Monroeville women slightly more than $26,700 total for the two home invasions. At least one of the victims was in Huron County Common Pleas Court, but declined to speak.
Large's accomplice, Maria C. Stallard, 35, of 2190 E. U.S. 20, Monroeville, will be sentenced April 2 for two counts of burglary and one charge of breaking and entering. As part of her plea deal Feb. 4, prosecutors dismissed the remaining charges on her indictment -- three counts of theft.
Stallard is convicted of stealing a large amount of jewelry, a lawnmower, snowblower and some tools after breaking into a shed and attached garage. The victims were her neighbors and mother.
Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff has said Large wasn't involved in the two burglaries Stallard committed, but it's possible he was present during the break-ins.
"The defendant has an extensive criminal history," Woodruff said Wednesday, referring to charges and convictions going back to the 1990s.
"He has been to prison several times. Nothing seems to work," added Woodruff, who asserted that maximum and consecutive sentences would be warranted in this case.
One of Large's burglary convictions is for an Oct. 22 incident on Ohio 601. The other is for a Nov. 2 burglary on Halfway Road, Monroeville. The Huron County Sheriff's Office handled the investigation.
Large stole jewelry and other items from the Norwalk home and then more jewelry and a big-screen TV from the Monroeville residence. Two weeks after the last burglary, he discarded the stolen jewelry in a Dumpster behind an Erie County hotel. Large admitted to the crimes in an interview with two detectives.
Defense attorney Reese Wineman said Large was so cooperative with investigators that the information he provided helped them solve other crimes.
"I've never seen anything like this," Wineman added.
Authorities recovered some of the stolen property when they found Stallard and Large at the hotel. Some of the items are from incidents in Richland County.
In late November, deputies used a search warrant on Hartland Center Road, where that resident had purchased many of the items, not knowing they were stolen. Officers recovered more than $35,000 worth of evidence.