Serial Burglar Sentenced To 4 1/2 Years In Prison
Paul Shimelonis became addicted to heroin and started breaking into houses after he was in a car crash
Paul Shimelonis never got in trouble with police before he had a car crash a few years ago, his attorney Richard Perez said.
But after the crash, a doctor prescribed Shimelonis Vicodin and Oxycontin to help him deal with the pain and he got addicted to them.
The painkillers led to methodone, which led to heroin, which led to Shimelonis breaking into houses so he could get the money to buy more heroin, which led to Tuesday morning when Shimelonis was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison on six counts of burglary.
Ralph Shimelonis spoke on his son's behalf during the sentencing hearing in Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci's court room.
"We've been fighting this addiction for several years, starting with painkillers, then morphine and heroin," he said.
Paul Shimelonis, 32, of Mentor, apologized to his victims -- none of who came to the sentencing. He said remorse was a "gross understatement" for what he felt.
Shimelonis had already paid $14,500 to offer restitution to the victims.
"Even though we paid restitution, I know it's not enough to repay for what I've done," Shimelonis told the judge.
Lucci said -- usually in a case like this, when someone is breaking into several homes -- he would sentence the suspect to more than 10 years. However, in Shimelonis' case there were some factors that made him inclined to give a less harsh punishment.
For example, Shimelonis did not have a criminal history before this rash of burglaries, he paid restitution to the victims, he has sought treatment for his addiction and, even while committing these burglaries, he went to great lengths to make sure no one was home at the time and not destroy more property than he had to, Lucci said.
He sentenced Shimelonis to 4 1/2 years in prison, slightly more than the prosecution and defense's joint recommendation of four years.
Shimelonis was arrested in April 2011. Mentor Police said he would pretend to be looking for a lost pet so he could scope out houses he was targeting.