November 21, 2014

Elyria
Partly cloudy
15°F
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Second county judge’s home robbed

LORAIN — There are two kinds of crimes Domestic Relations Judge David Berta said have always bothered him — sex offenses and burglaries.

On Friday, the judge and former criminal defense attorney became the victim of burglary —someone stole a gun, three iPods, digital cameras, memory cards and 80 cigars.

“It’s unnerving,” Judge Berta said. “You should feel safe in your house.”

He’s the second county judge this year whose home was burglarized. In February, the home being rented by Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski and his wife in Elyria was burglarized and the thieves made off with jewelry, change and the judge’s stash of liquor.
Norman White III and Robert Duffy now are facing charges for that burglary, but so far no one has been arrested in connection with Friday’s burglary of Berta’s home on Lorain’s west side off Leavitt Road near where Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academy is being built.

Berta said police have recovered several sets of usable fingerprints apparently left by the burglar, whom a neighbor saw hanging around his house after his wife left for a lunch appointment Friday morning.

When Berta’s wife came home, she found the burglar had broken in through a back door and very neatly gone through the house, taking small electronics and other items that he could fit in the backpack the neighbor saw him carrying.

The burglar also availed himself of Berta’s bathroom — and didn’t flush.

Berta said he’s taken steps to prevent a future break-in, but he’s worried about the gun — a .38 special — that the burglar took.
“I don’t care if I get it back, but off the streets,” he said. “It’s already someplace it probably shouldn’t be.”

Berta said he doesn’t have a dog, and his two cats, whom he said was more worried about than any missing property when he learned of the break-in, probably didn’t present much of a obstacle to the burglar. One, he said, probably ran away. The other probably welcomed the burglar.

“One of my cats was probably extremely friendly,” he said. “He’s friendly with everybody.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.