NORRISTOWN >> An Upper Salford man who told authorities “he needed money to pay his rent” has admitted to taking part with several others in a rash of vehicle break-ins in central Montgomery County.
Thomas Michael Delaney, 33, of the 800 block of Old Skippack Road, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Thursday to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft from a motor vehicle in connection with incidents that occurred in May 2016. Judge Joseph P. Walsh, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter, also ordered Delaney to complete 24 hours of community service.
The judge said Delaney will share with two alleged co-conspirators in the payment of more than $1,100 in restitution to the victims.
When police questioned Delaney in June 2016 about the rash of vehicle break-ins he admitted to traveling with Shaun Christopher Voigt to the area of Oak Drive in Lower Salford on two days in May to steal from vehicles, according to the criminal complaint. Delaney admitted to stealing a nail gun from one vehicle and to being present during additional thefts committed by Voigt.
Delaney told police he took the nail gun from the vehicle but would not use his identification to pawn it because “I was smarter than that,” according to the arrest affidavit filed by Lower Salford Police Officer Jeremy Fischer.
“Delaney explained he needed money to pay his rent and that is why he decided to steal from unlocked vehicles. Delaney apologized for his behavior…,” Fischer wrote in the criminal complaint.
In March, Voigt, 35, of the first block of Pennypacker Lane, Perkiomen Township, was sentenced to one to three years in a state prison after he pleaded guilty to felony theft charges in connection with multiple vehicle break-ins that occurred between June 2015 and May 2016 in Lower and Upper Salford townships and Lansdale Borough.
Many of the vehicles targeted by Voigt had been left unlocked by their owners, court papers indicate. The items stolen from the vehicles included firearms, electronic devices, loose change and purses and wallets containing credit cards and cash.
When detectives eventually developed Voigt as a suspect in the rash of break-ins he confessed.
“He acknowledged entering vehicles and removing the items from the vehicles was illegal. He also stated he doesn’t think straight when he needs drugs and was willing to do whatever was necessary to get money to buy drugs,” Fischer wrote in court documents.
The investigation revealed Voigt also sold some of the stolen items to area pawn shops and some items were recovered.
“Voigt advised he used his share of the money that he stole and obtained through selling the stolen property to buy drugs and Delaney used his share of the money to pay his rent,” Fischer wrote in court papers.
A woman who assisted Voigt during some of the vehicle break-ins also was charged in connection with the thefts.
“They engaged in a course of conduct by stealing property and selling items to support their substance abuse issues and financial hardships,” Fischer alleged in the arrest affidavit.