Burglary ring leader sentenced to three years in prison for Howard crimes


The leader of a burglary ring that targeted scores of warehouses and construction sites in Maryland was sentenced yesterday in Circuit Court to three years in prison for his Howard County crimes.

Before being sentenced, Mark Gregory Todd, 27, of Abingdon in Harford County claimed that his family's dire financial situation led him to commit 34 thefts and burglaries in Howard County.

Todd was one of four men charged in 208 burglaries and thefts in Howard, Harford, Prince George's and Baltimore counties that police say were carried out by the ring between January 1992 and July 1994.

Howard police believe that the ring -- whose members worked at an Arbutus insulation company -- was responsible for 115 break-ins at houses under construction, 58 thefts from storage trailers and panel trucks, 14 burglaries at warehouses and 21 truck thefts.

Company officials were not implicated in the crimes.

"I know I did wrong," Todd told Judge James Dudley during yesterday's hearing. "I'm sorry for what I did."

He said he fell into crime after he moved his family from Baltimore City to Harford County in hopes of a better life -- one that he found he could not afford on his salary at the insulation company.

Judge Dudley sentenced Todd to three years in prison for theft and two counts of storehouse breaking and entering.

Todd pleaded guilty to stealing an Isuzu truck from Shonin Enterprises in Jessup in September 1993, breaking into a construction warehouse in Highland in November 1993, and breaking into a house under construction in Elkridge in February 1994.

A total of 152 counts of theft, breaking and entering, malicious destruction and unauthorized use of a vehicle were dropped by the prosecution as part of a plea bargain Todd accepted in April.

Todd must serve his three-year sentence for his Howard crimes after completing a five-year prison term for burglaries in Harford and Prince George's counties.

He will be sentenced June 12 for burglaries in Baltimore County.

Judge Dudley denied a request by Todd's attorney to allow him to serve the Howard sentence at the same time as his Harford and Prince George's prison term.

The judge said he believes concurrent sentences are ineffective. He said they send the wrong message to criminals, one that tTC says they will receive only one penalty if they commit multiple crimes.

"I wouldn't do it for my son and I certainly wouldn't do it for someone involved in multiple offenses," Judge Dudley said.

Todd and his three co-defendants were arrested in September after an informant supplied their names and took the investigator to several burglary sites. All four defendants have entered plea agreements.

Robert Steven Taylor, 30, of Baltimore was sentenced to three years in prison in April. Samuel David Thomas, 20, of Abingdon was sentenced to two years in prison last month. The fourth member, Todd Lamar Fry, 25, of Baltimore was given a suspended prison term in March.

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