Theft ringleader sentenced

BY STACI WILSON

Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth Seamans promised a Kingsley area man he would go away for a “good long time” if he messed up once he is released from prison and is placed on probation.

Brent Vanteger, 27, was sentenced Monday in 12 separate cases, closing out a four-year string of burglary and theft cases from around the county.

Vanteger was sentenced to serve 11 and one-half months to two years minus one day on three separate felony burglary charges lodged against him.

In addition to the burglaries, Vanteger was also sentenced to six months to two years minus one day on seven misdemeanor counts of theft by unlawful taking; two months to two years minus one day on another misdemeanor theft charge; and nine months to two years minus one day on a charge of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

The sentences will run concurrent to each other.

Judge Seamans, however, sentenced Vanteger to 20 years probation for a felony burglary. That sentence will run consecutive to the others handed down Monday.

“Frankly, you’ve made a lifetime of stealing other people’s property,” the judge said.

If Vanteger violates the probation, Judge Seamans warned he could be sent to a state correctional facility for up to 20 years.

From the bench, Judge Seamans said the only way restitution was going to be made to the victims was to keep Vanteger inSusquehannaCounty.

“The people are entitled to restitution and they do want their money,” said the judge.

Vanteger was ordered by the court to pay the victims a total of about $4,000 in restitution, plus a $5,000 civil fine on the insurance fraud charge, in addition to other fines assessed at the sentencing.

District Attorney Jason Legg said he agreed to the plea deal of running sentences concurrent because Vanteger confessed to his involvement in a large number of “unsolved” cases.

“We were able to close out those cases and get restitution orders for the victims,” Legg said. “If he had not cooperated the cases would likely still be open.”

Prior to receiving his sentence Vanteger apologized to the court saying he had fallen on “hard times and was hurting for money” when the crimes occurred.

“I know it wasn’t right,” he said and adding he would pay the restitution off as quickly as possible.

Legg told the court that police, victims and community members had expressed a level of outrage because they felt Vanteger was seemingly “let off easy.”

The district attorney asked for an aggravated range sentence.

Two other men have also been implicated in some of the thefts.

Jerry Stines, ofNorth Carolina, entered guilty pleas in four cases in September and was sentenced to probation.

The third man alleged to be part of the theft ring, Jason Ross, is currently awaiting trial inSusquehanna County Court.

The thefts occurred in the Harford, Lenox, Jackson, Gibson,Great Bendand Dimock areas.