September 2, 2014

Elyria
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Police: Suspect taped himself with loot

LORAIN — Police already have exhibit No. 1 if the case of the 16-year-old accused of burglarizing the home of county Juvenile Judge David Berta goes to trial — a short video, shot on one of the judge’s stolen cameras, of the suspect and his friends with what police believe is some of the loot taken from Berta’s house.

The video, which shows the suspect wearing a tank top, cuts to another man looking at items spread out before him. Among those items, Berta said, was another, more expensive camera taken when his Lorain home was burglarized earlier this month.

Berta’s wife returned home after lunch to find that someone had broken into the house, used the bathroom and stole a .38-special revolver, three iPods, digital cameras, memory cards and 80 cigars.

Lorain police Sgt. Mark Carpentiere said the teenager, who was arrested on a probation violation when he showed up for school at Lorain Admiral King High School on Monday, is also the suspect in several other burglaries throughout the city.

But he has only been charged in connection with the burglary of Berta’s house — which he admitted to when questioned by police. He acted alone in the burglary.

The teen also led police to some of the items that police said were stolen from Berta’s and other houses. The judge said he got back several old watches, one memory card and one of his smaller cameras, which contained the video.

Berta said police told him the alleged thief was planning several other burglaries before he found out who his latest victim was.
“He saw it in the papers and he was going to lay low for a while,” Berta said.

The teen has a lengthy juvenile criminal record, including petty theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, said Juvenile Court Administrator Doug Messer, but he’s never been in front of Berta. The teen’s cases were on the docket of Juvenile Judge David Basinski, who had issued a warrant for the teen’s arrest for breaking the rules of his probation for an earlier conviction of obstructing official business.

Berta said the suspect told police that he didn’t target Berta because of his job, which came as a relief to the judge. But he’s still worried about the gun, which the boy told police he sold.

“I want the gun off the street,” Berta said.

Messer said the teen remains in the county Juvenile Detention Home.

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