A Georgia man was given a suspended prison sentence yesterday for a 1984 burglary in which he stole $35 from a church in Columbia's Long Reach village.
Walter Mitchell Gordon, 31, was given the sentence in Howard Circuit Court after pleading guilty to storehouse breaking and entering in the burglary at the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County.
Judge James Dudley sentenced Mr. Gordon to 18 months in vTC prison, with all but half of the term suspended. The rest of the sentence will be suspended once Mr. Gordon pays back the $35.
Mr. Gordon, a construction worker from Poulan, Ga., also was ordered to complete three years of supervised probation.
Charges of theft, malicious destruction and two additional counts of storehouse breaking and entering were dropped by prosecutors as part of the plea deal.
Prosecutors say Mr. Gordon entered the church in the 9300 block of Old Annapolis Road by removing the caulking from around a window on Dec. 11, 1984. Once inside, he took $35 from the church office.
Police investigators obtained fingerprints from the window, but they were unable to connect them to a suspect until 1991, when records revealed that they matched Mr. Gordon's prints, prosecutors said.
Mr. Gordon was apprehended by Georgia authorities last May when he applied for a contractor's license and a check of his criminal record showed he was wanted by Howard County police for the 1984 burglary, prosecutors said.
He then was extradited to Maryland. Mr. Gordon had since been held at the Howard County Detention Center.