Reedsburg man gets jail time for string of burglaries, meth production

November 29, 2018

A Reedsburg man who carried out a string of unusual drug-fueled burglaries and manufactured meth in his home resolved six criminal cases Wednesday.

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, 34-year-old Larry C. Smith must serve 18 months in jail with work-release privileges. Upon his release into the community, he will spend 10 years under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

In accepting a joint recommendation from the prosecution and defense, Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock withheld sentencing on most of the charges to which Smith pleaded guilty Wednesday morning.

That means that if Smith does not comply with terms of the deal — which include treatment for a drug addiction and the payment of $14,000 in restitution to his victims — he could wind up back in court facing 45 years in prison.

During a sentencing hearing, Sauk County Assistant District Attorney Cody McConnell described some of Smith’s crimes as “disturbing,” including instances in which he stole “items of deep personal value to the victims.”

Included in the list of stolen items were a veteran’s Purple Heart and children’s old Santa letters with $2 bills attached.

“It’s readily apparent to me that the defendant engaged in this act to feed his addiction,” McConnell said.

One of the cases resolved Wednesday included charges filed just this week which described what law enforcement officers discovered when they executed a search warrant on Smith’s home in January.

The complaint describes a home littered with trash, dirty dishes and drug paraphernalia. Authorities also found evidence of a “one pot” meth lab as well as waste from manufacturing the drug. A 6-year-old boy allegedly was living there at the time.

In an tearful statement to the judge, Smith apologized to his victims for the “serious and selfish” choices he made. “I am truly sorry for my terrible decisions,” he said.

Smith’s mother informed the judge that since the crime spree, her son has lived with her and remained sober while out on bail.

Smith’s defense attorney, Stephen Eisenberg of Madison, said his client became addicted to opiates several years ago and his behavior spiraled out of control in the presence of two other users with whom he lived.

He said Smith was willing and eager to participate in the county’s drug court treatment program, but was denied entry.

“I think Larry at this point, as shown by the last year, does have a desire to change,” Eisenberg said. “Larry did horrible things for about four months here.”

Screnock, who also presides over the county’s drug court, said he was not involved in the decision to deny Smith’s entry into the program. However, he said it may have been due to the fact that Smith already was sober for a significant period of time when he applied.

“I do know one of the realities of treatment court is that if you bring someone in as a participant that is not high enough risk, you actually can do more harm than good by having them interacting with that high-risk population so intimately for so many months,” Screnock said.

In addition to undergoing treatment and paying restitution, Smith also must provide a DNA sample and forfeit a vehicle that was in his possession.

He may have no contact with any of his victims or an alleged accomplice, 33-year-old Lori M. Winn. She currently has four pending felony cases in Sauk County.

Smith must report to jail by Jan. 11.

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