New Castle News


May 31, 2014

Man gets jail for for puppy theft

NEW CASTLE — A man who stole two puppies will have time to consider his actions.

Jessy James Rotar, 20, of New Castle who pleaded guilty to burglary, was sentenced Thursday to serve 12 to 24 months in the Lawrence County jail, with credit for one day served. This will be followed by three years probation.

He also must provide a DNA sample, pay costs of prosecution, make restitution of $2,710, have no contact with the victim and be assessed by Lawrence County Drug and Alcohol.

Lawrence County Judge Thomas M. Piccione, who imposed the sentence this week, gave Rotar until noon June 13 to check in at the jail to begin serving his sentence.

Piccione encouraged the father of two to use this bonus time to complete arrangements with his employer and the court for work release.

“I want to grant you work release,” Piccione said. “You must make restitution and take care of your family.”

He added if Rotar keeps his job, makes restitution and complies with the rules, he could be open to early release on parole.

“You could rejoin your family and be a better citizen.”

Rotar initially was charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, criminal trespass, theft and receiving stolen property.

Prior to the sentencing, the victim, Irene Matas, read a prepared statement outlining that overnight Sept. 11 to 12, 2012, someone entered her home and took a 42-inch flat-screen television, digital camera, two purses — one of which contained cash and her personal identification information — and her two, 11-week-old Boston Terrier puppies. She noted the house was “well-lit and obviously occupied.”

Matas said she and her brother, who share the residence, offered a reward and the puppies were returned, unhurt. However, she continued, following the intrusion she “became an emotional wreck, fearing to enter my house, not knowing if anyone was there.”

None of the other missing items were recovered.

Matas also asked for a written apology from Rotar.

Her brother, Richard Matas, a retired state police trooper, also spoke.

“I don’t believe he realizes what jeopardy he put himself in by coming into the house,” he said. “I am armed. Had I gotten up, he would not be here and I might have been the one being sentenced.”

Piccione said he agrees Rotar had not considered the consequences of his actions and that was one reason he was sentencing him to jail rather than house arrest, as had been requested by defense attorney Stanley Booker.

The judge also said he does not believe Rotar could afford to pay the costs of house arrests with electronic monitoring.

“I want you to become a productive citizen,” Piccione told him. “This felony charge will change your life.”

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