Couple lost more than possessions in burglary, they tell judge

Posted Sept. 22, 2011, at 5:30 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A woman whose home was burglarized two weeks before Christmas doesn’t wear jewelry anymore.

On Thursday, she told the judge who sentenced the man convicted of breaking into her Glenburn house that the jewelry has been put in storage.

“I had a nice collection that I was proud of,” she told District Court Judge Jessie Gunther. “Most of my pieces were gifts from loving family members with stories attached. It makes me angry to think that one person could make me feel so vulnerable.”

Her husband said that nearly nine months later he and his wife are still reeling from the impact the crime has had on them.

“To suggest that the impact of these violations is limited to the intrinsic value of those items stolen, although significant, is a gross understatement,” the male victim said at the sentencing hearing for Randall Cressey, 20, of Hampden. “The extended impact of this incident on my wife and me goes well beyond the dollar sign and is felt to this day and will be felt for an indefinite period well into the future.”

Cressey was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a series of burglaries and thefts in Glenburn he committed in December and another break-in he committed in March in Hampden. In addition to prison time, Gunther ordered Cressey to pay more than $3,000 in restitution to three victims.

The couple told the judge that they were forced to move from their Glenburn home and put it on the market after three attempted break-ins closely followed the successful one on Dec. 10.

“My family and I were still grieving the loss of our father, who passed only a few months prior to this crime,” the male victim told the judge. “A number of the items — a gold diamond ring, his grandfather’s watch and an inert, decommissioned British grenade brought back from the Second World War were very important to him and, by extension, to us.

“The ring was purchased with [his] mustering out pay from the Navy, the watch, an heirloom proudly displayed, the military piece, a dramatic and personal reminder. Dad fought in the South Pacific during the Second World War, had his ship blown out from under him, risked his life so that all of us, even common scofflaws like [the defendant], could live and breathe freely.”

He told Gunther that the value of the items taken, which his family considered to be priceless, had been “reduced to baseless transactions by shiftless idlers and reprobates whose worth to society is only measured by their expense to the taxpayer.”

Cressey apologized for his crimes.

“I would like to change my life,” he said. “This definitely has woken me up.”

Gunther thanked the victims for attending the sentencing.

“You made a very powerful presentation,” she said. “I hope Mr. Cressey absorbed the fact that he really did hurt people.”

The victims told the judge they believed Cressey should serve a longer sentence, closer to the maximum of 10 years allowed for burglary.

In her statement, however, the female victim said that she expects her “sense of trepidation” will remain.

“I’m scanning rooms now, [wondering] has anything changed since the last time I left,” she said. “My sleep patterns are different. Strange sounds warrant investigation. A car that passes too slowly in front of the house bears noticing. Unfamiliar tire tracks in the driveway make us suspicious. The oil delivery man, the meter reader, the mailman, the newspaper delivery person and any number of other workers one might encounter at their home are now subject to scrutiny.

“There will always be unanswered questions,” she concluded. “Why us? And, why did you do it?”

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