CLEARFIELD – One of the two men charged with burglary and arson for entering a home in Lawrence Township pleaded guilty Monday.
Stephen Jon Zimmerman, 22, of New Millport pleaded guilty to arson, burglary, risking a catastrophe, reckless burning, possessing instruments of crime and tampering with evidence.
He was sentenced by Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to one to 10 years in state prison. He must also pay restitution of over $39,000.
The charges stem from a break in at a Lawrence Township home on May 24.
Prior to sentencing, Ammerman read from a victim impact statement that stated the children of the family live in fear that the “bad guys are coming back.”
“Our home was our safe space,” he read. They went on to question why the men didn’t just take what they wanted and go instead of starting the fire.
Ammerman added to this by saying “this was senseless destruction for no reason what so ever.”
He commented that he would like to have given Zimmerman 10 to 20 years in prison, but he could not.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, when the owner of the home returned he noticed that his ATV was missing and the front door of the residence was wide open.
Once inside, he found a pour pattern on the floor of what appeared to be gasoline and there was fire damage to his living room furniture.
It was discovered the burglars had gotten in through an open bathroom window by removing the screen.
Jewelry, a video game console, DVDs and other items were missing. Damage indicated that the actors had tried to gain entry to a gun safe.
On June 6, a man contacted police reporting that someone had tried to sell him an ATV through Facebook messenger. This witness then contacted the person selling the vehicle and got photos that confirmed it was the missing ATV.
During his contact with the witness, Zimmerman admitted the ATV was stolen.
Police were unable to make contact with Zimmerman at his residence.
The witness told police that Zimmerman would be at the Glen Richey Fire Hall at 6 p.m. on June 9. Police responded to the scene where they took Zimmerman into custody.
During an interview, Zimmerman identified Nevin Edward Kruise, 27, of Westover as the one who actually entered the home through the window and tried to enter the safe while Zimmerman loaded the ATV. He also claimed Kruise poured gasoline through the residence and lit it.
Kruise was found at a Grampian residence and taken into custody.
In his interview with police, Kruise said it was Zimmerman who initially entered the home, and later set a fire with gasoline.
Kruise was also scheduled to be sentenced Monday, but his case was continued until September.