A Madison Heights man was found guilty of eight felonies in connection with a string of break-ins in Amherst County.
Kenneth Randall Peters, Jr., 43, pleaded guilty during a Sept. 4 hearing in Amherst Circuit Court to three counts of breaking and entering, two counts each of destruction of property, two counts of grand larceny and possessing a controlled substance.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Clint Carwile said the charges stem from three break-ins involving Peters. In September 2018 an Amherst County Sheriff’s deputy responded to an incident where a resident reported a trailer had been broken into and damaged and four-wheelers on site also had been damaged, according to Carwile. Restitution for stolen items and property damage combined totals $3,698, Carwile said.
In July 2018 a sheriff’s deputy responded to a home on Elon Road after a resident observed it had been entered and some collectible items had been taken. Another investigation in September 2018 found Peters had lived in a rental home a week without the property owner’s permission, Carwile said.
The homeowner did not know Peters or that he had been staying there, the prosecutor said. Scott De Bruin, Peters’ attorney, described facts of that case as “unusual.”
A felony grand larceny charge against Peters was dropped as part of his cooperating with authorities, Carwile said.
“Mr. Peters has been extremely cooperative,” Carwile said. “Anything he’s done, he’s confessed. I’ll give him that.”
During the investigation a bag containing methamphetamine was found in Peters’ possession, Carwile said.
De Bruin said in court Megan Francisco Lang, of Madison Heights, is a co-defendant in the case and “was involved with all of this” and identified other individuals. According to court records, Lang pleaded guilty May 31 to one felony count each of breaking and entering, grand larceny, receiving or buying stolen goods and possessing a firearm as a nonviolent felon.
She was sentenced to 35 years with all but two years on the firearm charge suspended, court records show. Three counts of grand larceny and three counts of breaking and entering against her were dropped.
Carwile said Lang is in custody after failing to report to jail to begin serving the sentence and is charged with violating her probation. She is awaiting trial on those four charges, court records show.
Judge Michael Garrett found Peters guilty on the eight felonies and a sentencing hearing is scheduled to be set in October. De Bruin said Peters has been incarcerated for nearly a year and requested releasing him on a secured bond as he awaits sentencing.
Peters has a substance abuse problem, is doing better with it and could stay in Lynchburg under a curfew and supervised conditions if granted release, De Bruin said. Carwile opposed the measure.
“This stealing was driving his addiction,” Carwile said.
Garrett ruled to deny release on bond while noting Peters was just convicted of eight felonies, has a substance abuse issue and failed to appear for court hearings in the past. The judge said he considers Peters a potential flight risk and had a public safety concern with granting the conditional temporary release.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.