Nine-Year Sentence Ordered In Two-State Burglary Spree

SNOW HILL – A
Selbyville, Del. man arrested last August in connection with a string of
burglaries in Maryland and Delaware pleaded guilty last week in Worcester
County Circuit Court to one count each of first- and fourth-degree burglary and
was sentenced to a total of nine years in jail.

Gary Jefferson
Smith, 43, of Selbyville, was arrested last August in Salisbury after
detectives there connected him to a string of break-ins in Sussex County, Del.
and Worcester and Wicomico counties in Maryland. Witnesses in both states
identified Smith and his vehicle, a blue Jeep with West Virginia tags in
connection with the break-ins, all of which shared the same basic modus
operandi.

On Aug. 2, a
Bishopville resident reported someone broke into his home and stole around
$1,300 in property including three handguns and a jar of money marked “Fishing
Fund” on the side. The “Fishing Fund” jar would ultimately connect Smith to the
break-ins in Worcester County.

On Aug. 8, a
female victim in Whaleyville reported someone tried to break in to her home
through a sliding glass door in the middle of the day, but the suspect was
unsuccessful. A witness on Donaway Street where the unsuccessful break-in
occurred reported seeing a suspicious vehicle on the road not far from the
victim’s house.

The witness said
he approached the driver and asked what he was doing, but the driver, later
identified as Smith, got nervous and drove off.

Later that day,
Smith victimized yet another house in Bishopville. The victim in that case said
someone entered through her garage and broke in the door of her house. A
witness said he was driving by the victim’s house when he saw a man matching
the description of Smith as well as the Jeep but the suspect was just doing
some work at the house for the neighbor.

The pattern of
break-ins in Worcester matched the pattern of similar burglaries in Sussex and
Wicomico counties throughout the first two weeks of August. Worcester County
Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) detectives relayed a description of Smith and
the blue jeep with West Virginia tags to detectives in Wicomico County. Within
a few hours, Wicomico detectives located the Jeep and Smith at a Salisbury
motel.

A search warrant was obtained for Smith’s room,
which turned up several stolen handguns and cash. WCBI detectives were called
to the scene and identified the stolen “Fishing Fund” jar described in the
robbery in Bishopville back on Aug. 2. Smith was arrested and charged with
multiple counts of burglary in three counties and two states.  

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