ROCKLAND, Maine — A 30-year-old Camden mother of three was sentenced Monday to 18 months in jail for a burglary spree last year that was fueled by a need to buy drugs.
Summer Ali-Ariza — who had previously worked at MBNA and Bank of America — said her illegal drug use began after she was prescribed painkillers for injuries she suffered following a car crash.
Ali-Ariza and her boyfriend Patrick Quinn, 37, of Camden, were arrested in September 2011 and suspected of 50 break-ins at homes along Route 1 over a five-month period. Police said at the time of their arrests that approximately $100,000 in mostly jewelry and coins were stolen and then sold at pawn shops across New England.
Quinn was sentenced last month in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast to nine years in prison with all but three years suspended to be followed by six years of probation. Deputy District Attorney Eric Walker told Justice Donald Marden Monday at Ali-Ariza’s sentencing in Knox County Superior Court that Quinn got a lengthier sentence because he was tied to many more burglaries.
Ali-Ariza pleaded no contests to a burglary and theft of two silver spoons and many personal documents from a home in Rockland last September. The items were recovered less than a week later in a storage shed outside a Camden home they were staying at as well as in two cabins they were renting at a local motel in Camden.
Walker said that hundreds of hypodermic needles also were found at the cabins being used by Quinn and Ali-Ariza.
Ali-Ariza also pleaded guilty to a burglary and theft in Waldo County. One item taken in that crime was a 1956 Belfast High School class ring that was recovered by police.
The prosecutor said that the two were stripping the jewelry of stones and then selling the gold and silver to pawn shops because of the high price being paid for precious metals.
Justice Marden sentenced Ali-Ariza to six years with all but 18 months suspended and three years probation. The sentence has been agreed to between the prosecution and defense attorney Dale Lavi of Camden. She will be given credit for the 12 months she already has served in jail.
One of the terms of probation was that Ali-Ariza have no contact with Quinn. The defense objected to that condition, however, with Lavi noting that Quinn and his client remain in love.
“If she stays clean, I see no reason for the no-contact provision,” he said.
Ali-Ariza said the two knew each other before their drug problems developed. She said she would not see him if it threatened either of their own sobriety. She said she plans to enter an inpatient substance abuse program when she is freed from jail.
The judge agreed to allow the two to see each other while they are on probation if their probation officers agree.
The 30-year-old woman said she had worked at MBNA and Bank of America in a variety of positions including management. After she was in a car crash, she said she was prescribed painkillers and that began her addiction to drugs.
Justice Marden told Ali-Ariza that she was much too educated to have become involved in drugs.
A woman whose home was the target of the Rockland burglary last year addressed the court and said she no longer feels safe in her home because of the break-in. She said she is afraid to be at the house alone or with her children and she got a dog to alert her to when someone is around the house.
The homeowner wished Ali-Ariza well, noting the seriousness of drug addiction.