Ruffsdale ‘professional burglar’ gets up to 20 years for regional heists
A Westmoreland County judge on Friday sentenced a Ruffsdale man who prosecutors called a “professional burglar” to serve up to 20 years in prison for a string of 13 heists throughout the region in 2015 and 2016.
Timothy Stants, 52, asked for mercy, saying his life has turned around over the last several years with the birth of a new child, and apologized for his role in a crime spree he carried out in Westmoreland, Fayette and Lawrence counties.
“I apologize to the court and I apologize to everyone involved,” Stants said.
Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Feliciani sentenced Stants to serve 10 to 20 years in prison and to repay his victims a total of more than $120,000 for the stolen items.
Stants pleaded guilty in December to 41 charges including burglary and other offenses in connection to 13 incidents .
Police said Stants targeted businesses to burglarize. Investigators knew of Stants’ robust criminal history including convictions for more than 40 burglaries in the early 2000s that resulted in prior convictions and a 20-year probation sentence.
Video surveillance from outside of Stants’ home along with images from the burglary scenes linked him to the crimes, police said in court records.
“Your history dates back decades and the most recent string of events demonstrates a sophisticated course of conduct,” Feliciani said.
Before imposing sentence the judge heard testimony from state agents during a closed-door hearing outside of the courtroom.
Defense attorney Donna McClelland requested the private hearing but declined offer any reasons for the secrecy.
“It was about some matters I felt should not be made public but that we wanted to bring to the attention of the court,” McClelland said.
The state Attorney General’s office prosecuted Stants in 2004 for the earlier burglary cases. At that time, state agents described Stants as a ringleader of an operation of a group of a dozen men and women, including several of his relatives, who stole from businesses and homes in the region between 1999 and 2004.
Stants’ original 20-year probation sentence for those offenses was revoked following another arrest in 2011 and he was resentenced to serve up to two years in prison and eight additional years on probation.
Feliciani said Friday he would again revoke Stants’ sentence for those offenses and will conduct a resentencing hearing on July 5.
Stants’ criminal record dates back to 1983 and lists convictions for burglary and other offenses in 1984, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2004 and 2011, according to Westmoreland prosecutors.
“Mr. Stants is a professional burglar. That’s what he is,” said Assistant District Attorney Anthony Iannamorelli.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]