Woman, 26, sentenced for her part in burglary ring
BRENTWOOD - A Manchester woman was sentenced to three to six years in state prison on Wednesday for burglarizing three homes with a group of friends who stole electronics, jewelry and even family heirlooms to feed their heroin addictions.
Tamra Matheson-Reed, 26, pleaded guilty to four burglary-related charges, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and theft in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Matheson-Reed broke into three homes in Derry one in Londonderry. Nothing was stolen in the Londonderry break-in because Matheson-Reed and the others realized somebody was home and fled, according to prosecutors.
She took roughly $35,000 worth of valuables, most of which has never been recovered, Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said.
The burglaries happened in December 2009 and January 2010, but police got a break in the case when Matheson-Reed and her companions were caught on store surveillance footage using a credit card stolen from one of the homes.
Matheson-Reed used the stolen credit card to buy a $979 television at Best Buy in Salem and various items at nearby stores, Bolton said.
Nancy Gene Parker, a Derry mother of two, chastised Matheson-Reed for putting fear into her children and taking away their sense of security.
'Even now - today - two years later they are afraid to be home alone,' she said. 'Their whole perspective has changed toward people.'
Matheson-Reed also received a suspended five- to 10-year prison sentence that can be imposed if she violates her probation once she is released. She apologized to the victims who were in court on Wednesday.
'I am sorry for the hurt I have caused everybody else. … If I could take it back I would,' she said. 'I'm embarrassed and regret what I've done.'
Matheson-Reed's mother and defense lawyer James Godbout said Matheson-Reed had made strides in battling her drug addiction over the years. She turned to drugs as a way to deal with mental and physical abuse by a man when she was younger, according to Godbout.
Judge Marguerite Wageling said she was sympathetic that Matheson-Reed had endured such things when she was young, but now she was the one perpetrating crimes against others.
'The bottom line is you are in control of your life, and you and your friends had a bit of a crime spree going there,' Wageling said.
Wednesday's hearing marked the latest conviction against the group of more than a half-dozen alleged burglars who prosecutors say would spend their time hanging out and getting high on heroin. They funded their drug habit by breaking into houses and reselling stolen items at area pawn shops.
In February, Joseph Anderson, 27, of Haverhill, Mass., was sentenced three to six years in state prison after pleading guilty to six counts of burglary, two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary and theft by unauthorized taking.
David Pento, 24, of Derry, who is charged with burglarizing six of the homes, is also expected to plead guilty for his role in the break-ins.