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Westminster man to serve four years for burglary

Zachary James Garten
Zachary James Garten (HANDOUT)

A Westminster man was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but four years suspended for burglary and theft charges including the theft of industrial equipment.

Zachary James Garten, 21, of the 1000 block of Muller Road, pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the state's version of the facts to one count each of theft, conspiracy to commit theft and second-degree burglary.

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Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Michael M. Galloway sentenced Garten to 10 years with all but four years suspended for the burglary charge and five-year consecutive suspended sentences for the theft charges. Garten was also found in violation of probation in three cases and Galloway closed the cases.

Garten will be transported to the Division of Corrections where he will stay until November, when Galloway agreed to hear a motion for modification to allow Garten to be evaluated for the county's Drug Treatment Court.

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On May 20, 2014, Carroll County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to the 4800 block of Bartholow Road in Eldersburg for a report of a stolen generator and diesel fuel, according to the statement of facts read into the record by Circuit Court Chief Attorney Allan Culver.

Victims said someone stole the generator from a work site sometime between May 16 and May 20, according to Culver. They were later able to give deputies a model and serial number for the unit, and it was learned Garten had pawned the generator in Frederick.

At about the same time, the Sykesville Police Department was investigating thefts from a trailer owned by CSX Corp., according to Culver. Several items were stolen, including fuel, an air pump, a fuel tank, a pressure washer and hydraulic cylinders.

A Maryland State Police trooper contacted Sykesville police in June because he believed he was investigating a related theft and Garten and William Gavin Melton, 27, of Frederick County, were arrested after being observed driving a stolen State Highway Administration vehicle, Culver said.

Melton received a suspended sentence in December after entering a plea agreement, according to court records.

Garten was arrested again in December after a sheriff's deputy began investigating a shed break-in at a residence near Garten's, according to Culver. Items stolen included guns and tools.

The day after the burglary was discovered, a man contacted the Sheriff's Office because he had purchased a gun from Garten and wanted to have the serial number checked, according to Culver. The serial number showed the gun was one of the ones stolen from the victim's shed.

Public defender Diane Lach said Garten began abusing painkillers as a teen and was using heroin by 15 years old. She said he is a perfect candidate for drug court and needs the structure and accountability.

Culver said he hopes the short time in state prison will impress upon Garten that he does not want to spend his life there.

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