NORRISTOWN — They targeted real estate open houses during a recent theft scheme and now a Limerick man and a New Hanover woman, each who had previous burglary convictions, are headed back to prison.
Megan Anne McCormick, 36, of the 2700 block of Stacie Drive, New Hanover, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to three to six years in a state correctional facility after she pleaded guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy in connection with multiple thefts that occurred at real estate open houses in 2013 in Limerick, East Norriton and Upper Providence.
Jeffrey Douglas Ridenour, 33, of the 100 block of West Ridge Pike, Limerick, was sentenced to 1½ to five years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to taking part with McCormick in the October 2013 theft of jewelry during an open house at an East Norriton home.
“They went into homes that were open for sale and would go throughout the home and steal different items like jewelry and leave the house without anyone realizing anything was gone for a couple of days,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Abidiwan-Lupo, who sought state prison time against McCormick and Ridenour.
“They targeted people who trusted the community to come to their houses, just to look at the homes, and these two individuals took advantage of that trust and really violated their sense of privacy in a great way,” Lupo added. “They had a system of preying on open houses.”
President Judge William J. Furber Jr., who sentenced McCormick, and Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who sentenced Ridenour, told the defendants they will be responsible for paying restitution, which has yet to be determined. The judges also ordered McCormick and Ridenour to undergo drug and alcohol treatment and counseling.
With the charges, authorities alleged that on Oct. 6, 2013, McCormick and Ridenour, who court documents indicate have a child together, attended a real estate open house at a property in the 100 block of Hancock Boulevard in East Norriton after which the owner reported about $2,645 in jewelry went missing.
“(The realtor) reported the couple walked around the second floor unsupervised for a short period of time and then exited the house,” East Norriton Police Sgt. David W. Boyer wrote in the arrest affidavit. “The thefts occurred on the second floor.”
Authorities subsequently linked McCormick to other thefts during open houses in Limerick, Skippack, Trappe and Upper Providence between February and October 2013, according to court papers.
“Jewelry was the primary stolen property in all incidents involving thefts,” Boyer and Upper Providence Detective Raymond D. Bechtel III wrote in a criminal complaint filed against McCormick.
On Oct. 18, investigators searched McCormick’s residence and recovered “a large amount of jewelry” there, according to the arrest affidavit.
Numerous pieces of the recovered jewelry were subsequently identified as having been stolen from the East Norriton home, court documents indicate.
It wasn’t the first contact that McCormick and Ridenour had with law enforcement.
In June 2011, Ridenour, then 30, was sentenced to three-to-six years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of burglary in connection with a February 2011 break-in at a Limerick business. Ridenour was on parole at the time of his latest arrest.
In November 2012, McCormick, then 35, was sentenced to 11 ½ to 23 months in county jail and eight years’ probation after she admitted to participating with two others in a series of residential burglaries in several communities between September and November 2011, according to court records. McCormick also was on parole or probation at the time of her latest arrest.
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