A 38-year-old man will serve 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a string of burglaries that affected several homeowners in the area, including in Orefield.
Jose Louis Torres, 38, who had been staying at a mobile home in Center Valley, pleaded guilty to 10 counts of felony burglary and one count of criminal conspiracy.
He had been charged in October 2011 with burglarizing several homes, including in Allentown, Bethlehem and Center Valley, and stealing more than $70,000 worth of jewelry, guns, cash, a safe, laptops and even a box of frozen bacon. , police had said he stole a safe with $1,600, wedding rings, nine guns and half a case of beer for a total of $4,550.
Also charged in the case were and Erick Del Pilar Medina. the team used techniques such as putting Play-Doh in shoe treads to cover their tracks and taking glass out of window frames instead of breaking it.
According to Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher, the group stole items totaling $87,831.
At the time of his arrest,Torres was already in Lehigh County Prison after being accused of trying to run down an Allentown police detective who was trying to serve him with a warrant. In addition to the burglary sentence, Torres will also serve an additional five to 10 years on a probation violation. The two sentences will run consecutively, so Torres will serve 12 1/2 to 25 years.
Torres will also have to pay a portion of the $87,831 in restitution to the victims. Breeland and Medina will pay portions as well.
Tearing up in front of Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos, Torres asked Gallagher to take a message back to his victims.
"I greatly apologize for the pain I have caused," said Torres. "I've learned a lot from this experience. Once I get out, I am done with a life of crime. This experience has taught me a lot and it's changed my life."
Torres' plea averted a trial, which was scheduled to begin Monday before Dantos.