SNOW HILL – A Berlin man convicted on a third-degree burglary charge in November after a stolen high school ring recovered in Anne Arundel County connected him to a rash of residential break-ins in Ocean Pines was sentenced last week in Worcester County Circuit Court to eight years in jail.
Between May 22 and June 9 last year, Ocean Pines Police investigated a series of daytime residential burglaries in the south section of the community, but had not developed any suspects. During the time frame of the burglaries, police received complaints of a tall, unidentified man walking through neighborhoods and knocking on doors claiming he was looking for a contractor.
In each of the reported cases, if someone answered the door, the suspect told them he was mistaken and must have the wrong address. During the roughly three-week period, as many as five burglaries were reported in the community during which the suspect would enter unoccupied residences and steal televisions, laptop computers, I-pods, jewelry and other expensive household items.
While Ocean Pines police was conducting its investigation, it received a call from law enforcement officials in Anne Arundel County about a similar pattern of break-ins. An Anne Arundel County detective later called Ocean Pines Police and told them two arrests had been made in connection with the burglaries in that jurisdiction and that one of the individuals arrested, later identified as Joseph G. Cherone, 45, of Berlin, had in his possession a high school class ring that detectives were able to trace back to one of the burglaries in Ocean Pines.
The Ocean Pines victim was contacted and identified the ring as one of the items reported stolen. Several other items reported stolen in Ocean Pines during the rash of break-ins were also recovered. In November 2009, Cherone pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and a pre-sentence investigation was ordered. Back in Worcester County Circuit Court last week, Cherone was sentenced to eight years with the Department of Corrections. He was also ordered to pay a combined $5,150 in restitution to two different victims.
Meanwhile, Cherone was convicted on a first-degree robbery charge in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in November for a break-in last June, but a pre-sentence investigation was also ordered in that case. In addition, Cherone was convicted on a robbery charge in Anne Arundel County in 1991 and was sentenced to 10 years for that conviction.