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A Haverhill man was sentenced to serve 8 to 10 years in state prison, followed by 5 years of probation, after admitting to breaking into and stealing items from numerous homes in Lawrence between August and October 2016. Judge Jeffrey Karp imposed the sentence today in Lawrence Superior Court.
Juan Mejia, 26, pleaded guilty to 36 of 57 indictments in connection with 34 housebreaks on the eve of his trial. The remaining charges were dismissed.
“While this is not a crime of violence, it has a significant and long-lasting impact on the victims. Their sense of security and well-being was greatly disrupted in the very place where they should feel safe,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “Too often, the effect of crimes on victims is minimized or over-looked. I am pleased that the court took this into account in sentencing.”
In her sentencing argument, Essex Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Gillespie told the court how the crime spree impacted the victims. “One family had to move, another’s young son could not sleep alone in his room and a woman lost an irreplaceable family heirloom, her grandmother’s engagement ring,” ADA Gillespie said. “These victims were not just robbed of material possessions, but of their security and the sanctity of their homes.”
Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque expressed his appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Lawrence Police Patrol and Detective Divisions that brought this defendant to justice. “This is yet another example of how taking one individual with a high propensity to commit crime off the street can have a positive impact on the crime rate not only in a neighborhood but the entire city,” Chief Vasque said.
ADA Gillespie also expressed her thanks to the Lawrence Police Department, particularly, Detective Angel Mejia (no relation) and a “long list of patrol officers,” who worked tirelessly on this case. Essex Victim Witness Advocate Jocelyn Pichardo assisted with the prosecution.