A former security guard at Westminster Canterbury will spend up to a year behind bars for stealing thousands of dollars of jewelry from people he was meant to protect.
An Albemarle County Circuit Court judge sentenced Howard Carey, 25, Tuesday afternoon to 10 years for each of eight felonies he pleaded guilty to back in December but he will only serve 12 months in jail, because the judge suspended 79 years of that sentence.
Following a police sting, Carey confessed to using his master key to steal jewelry from individual rooms. Much of that jewelry held sentimental value to the victims. It came out in court that Carey had stolen an engagement ring given to one of the victims on her fifth wedding anniversary because the couple could not afford one sooner.
Carey must pay more than $65,000 in restitution. He has already paid $8,000 of that using between 80 and 90 percent of his pay from construction work.
Carey had no other criminal history, and all parties in this case, including the victims, did not want to see Carey's life "ruined" because he has made strides to right his wrong. Both the prosecution and defense asked for a shortened jail sentence with suspended time. That means if Carey were to get into trouble again, he would have to serve the remainder of that suspended sentence.
Carey made a statement during Tuesday's hearing, apologizing to several victims who were in court and saying, "realizing how it hurt you hurt me more."
The judge made a point to reiterate based on victim impact statements that the items he stole were from areas where the victims should have felt the safest, causing them fear, anger, and a sense of loss.
Pending qualification, Carey is allowed to make arrangements for work release to continue paying restitution.
He cannot have any contact with the victims.
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