Man pleads guilty in string of Howard thefts

A Baltimore man pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges in connection with a string of residential burglaries occurring in Columbia and Ellicott City during December and January, according to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.

Cornelius Antonio McRae, 23, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree burglary, one count of theft between $1,000-$10,000, and one count of theft less than $1,000 before Howard County Circuit Court Judge Timothy J. McCrone Tuesday morning, Kirwan said.


McRae pleaded guilty to three separate incidents, which occurred on Dec. 16, Dec. 17 and Jan. 6, according to the statement of facts. Prosecutors estimate McRae stole approximately $6,500 worth of goods, including two laptops and an iPod.

Leading up to the Jan. 6 incident, Howard County Police had identified McRae as a suspect in earlier burglaries and were surveying his activities, according to the facts. At 4:26 a.m. on Jan. 6, officers observed McRae in the 8100 block of Tamar Drive with a pink back pack and dressed in dark clothing, according to the facts.


A canvass of the area and interview with a nearby homeowner revealed that a pink Vera Bradley bag, containing a lap top and iPad mini, was stolen from the home, according to the facts.

At 5:05 a.m., another officer located McRae a short distance from the burglary. McRae, who was allegedly getting into a stolen Honda Pilot, dropped the pink back pack and fled.

McRae was discovered later that morning hiding in a dumpster located in the 6500 block of Meadowridge Road with the victim's wallet in his possession, according to the facts.

Searches of the vehicle and McRae's residence in Baltimore linked him to December 16-17 thefts from residences located in the 3700 and 3800 blocks of Grovesnor Drive in Ellicott City.

At McRae's sentencing hearing on Sept. 19, prosecutors will seek a sentence of 15 years in prison on the first-degree burglary charge, and 10 years on the two theft charges, to be served concurrently, Kirwan said.

The prosecution will also ask for restitution for the victims, Kirwan said.