The man who admitted to a series of Northside burglaries last summer acknowledged at his sentencing Thursday morning that he made mistakes.
But Joshua A. Wise Jr. also argued that the nine-year sentence he agreed to in a plea deal that covered a total of eight burglaries and two attempted burglaries wasn’t fair.
Judge Frank P. Milano, in his own comments, laid out the circumstances: middle-of-the-night break-ins at people’s homes.
“From a homeowner’s point of view, that is an absolutely terrifying set of circumstances,” Milano told Wise. “There’s no excuse for that and you did it a lot.”
Had Wise been convicted of each burglary at trial, Milano noted, the sentences could have been run consecutive to each other and Wise could have spent the rest of his life in prison.
Wise, 23, pleaded guilty in March to three counts of second-degree burglary, felonies.
Wise was arrested last August after breaking into a total of eight homes and trying to break into two others.
Wise, of Avenue B, was accused of entering homes through unlocked windows or back doors.
His target, authorities have said, was small electronics, particularly iPhones. He would grab them quickly, then slip away as residents slept, officials said. Many of the homes were occupied, some with children.
In one instance, prosecutors said, a parent first thought a noise was his child. In that instance, the burglar fled.
In another instance, prosecutors said, there was evidence the burglar actually stepped over a child to get to an electronic device on a nightstand, then stepped over the child again to leave.
The young child had moved to her parents’ bedroom, sleeping on the floor as her parents slept in the bed.
Investigators were already closing in on Wise when officers combing the area caught him in August.
Prosecuting the case was Laurie Cummings.
She noted previously that, after his arrest, Wise was cooperative, gave a full confession and even took investigators to the homes he burglarized.
He was given consideration for that in his plea deal, she said previously.
None of the victims was present in court.
Wise was represented by attorney Sven Paul.
Paul noted in court that Wise had a tough upbringing. Paul said he offered that not as an excuse or justification. His client is remorseful to the people harmed by his conduct, he said.
“My client has accepted responsibility and readily admitted his wrongdoing, and the potential danger present, not only when a homeowner was involved but to [Wise] as well.”
Paul also noted that, prior to the flurry of burglaries, Wise had a minimal criminal history.
Milano told Wise that he shouldn’t go into prison with a bad attitude.
“You should go in with the attitude that you were dealt a rotten hand and you have the opportunity to turn your life around,” Milano told Wise. “Take advantage of any educational and vocational programs. If you perform well and do well, maybe you’ll be out by the time you’re 30 and you’ll have your whole life ahead of you.”