One of four people arrested in connection with the 2015 crime spree
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A Springfield man who was charged back in the fall of 2015 with nearly 60 burglary and theft-related offenses has reached a plea deal this week that resolves all of his outstanding cases with a 5-to-15 year sentence.
“I did suffer from a pretty bad drug habit involving heroin,” Michael Farnsworth, now 29, told Judge Timothy Tomasi during his sentencing this week at the Windsor County Superior Courthouse in downtown White River Junction.
“I’m going to take responsibility for what I did and I apologize to the victims for what I put them through,” Farnsworth concluded.
Defense attorney Matthew Birmingham told the court that Farnsworth’s case is a “compelling example of the horrors of heroin.”
“Michael acknowledges his mistake and greatly regrets what happened here, but,” Birmingham continued, “it is a tragedy that is going to be repeated over-and-over again until we do something about it.”
Farnsworth arrives in the courtroom on Wednesday afternoon for his change of plea
Farnsworth was arrested along with his father and a local couple in connection with the string of break-ins and thefts from workshops, barns, sheds, garages and construction sites across Andover, Cavendish, Chester, Ludlow, Rockingham, Springfield, Weathersfield and West Windsor that took place in November of 2015.
At the time, Chester Police Chief Rick Cloud described the quartet’s crime spree as “100 percent drug related.”
Police tracked down the burglars by tracing stolen property, mostly tools, that had been sold to pawn shops in the region and in the end managed to recover about $40,000 worth of stolen goods which were eventually returned to their owners.
“A lot of the victims were craftsmen by trade…carpenters, painters…people who rely on their tools to make their livings and to provide for their families and so they were deeply affected by this,” Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney Glenn Barnes explained to Judge Tomasi, continuing “The state does understand that in large part this was due to heroin addiction. This case is a testament as to just how powerful that addiction can be and what it can lead individuals to do. We certainly sympathize with the set of circumstances Mr. Farnsworth found himself in but at the same time with this many victims…there needs to be a significant punitive response.”
Michael Farnsworth’s criminal history stretches back to his teens and includes other arrests along with his father including a 2010 failed robbery attempt in which the younger Farnsworth was convicted of menacing a gas station attendant in Ascutney by claiming he had a gun. The skeptical clerk chased Farnsworth out of the store where police said he fled after getting into a car driven by his father. Michael Farnsworth received a 12-month suspended jail sentence for that incident.
Farnsworth at the time of his arrest in November 2015. He pled guilty to four felony burglary charges this week.
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