December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Judge’s robber pleads guilty

ELYRIA — The 16-year-old boy who broke into Juvenile Judge David Berta’s Lorain home in August has pleaded guilty to burglary and receiving stolen property.

The boy, who made off with a .38 Special revolver, three iPods, digital cameras, memory cards and 80 cigars from Berta’s home, also pleaded guilty to burglary and weapons charges in connection with two other break-ins, Juvenile Court Administrator Doug Messer said.

The judge’s wife returned home after lunch to find that someone had broken into the house, used the bathroom — without flushing — and gone through the house.

Police were able to recover fingerprints from the house, which led them to the boy, who was arrested at Lorain Admiral King High School a few weeks later.

Berta’s gun was never recovered, but after police arrested the boy he led them to several of the judge’s watches, a memory card and one of the smaller cameras, which featured a video of the suspect and another man standing over the loot. Among the stolen items that can be seen was another of the judge’s cameras.

The teen has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for petty theft and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, but has never been before Berta.

Messer said when the teen is sentenced later this year he could be sent to the Ohio Department of Youth Services until his 21st birthday.

Berta could not be reached for comment.

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