Cape St. Claire's so-called Scrap King pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary on Wednesday in a case that had been postponed since October.
Michael Joseph Conti, 49, of the 800 block of Chestnut Tree Drive, pleaded guilty to burglary on Wednesday and agreed to provide a restitution check of $2,500 to the owners of stolen goods.
Conti was arrested in June for burglarizing a home in Cape St. Claire that was undergoing renovation and an adjacent home, according to a police statement. A refrigerator, tools and lawn equipment had been taken from the homes.
A second-degree burglary charge carries a sentence of between one to four years in jail, according to Maryland's sentencing guidelines.
A sentencing hearing was set for Jan. 24 to allow time for the check to clear, said Kristen Fleckenstein of the Maryland state's attorney's office. The weight of the sentence depends on the restitution being paid, according to Circuit Court Judge William C. Mulford.
The Cape St. Claire Improvement Association has a separate case against Conti for failing to follow its covenants that is currently pending. The case stemmed from Conti's refusal to remove scrap materials from his yard. Finding and selling that scrap had become his business, he said. He even created a business card for the endeavor, calling himself the Scrap King.
However, later in the year, amid the ongoing court discussions, the scrap in his yard was removed, and Conti put up his Chestnut Tree Drive home for sale in December.
Association President Kathleen Mooneyhan said the future of that case won't be for her to decide, as a new president is being chosen on Tuesday. The new association's president and the board will make that determination, she said.
However, Mooneyhan, who has followed this case closely, said it is a weight off the community's shoulders to get this case closer to being resolved.
"We'll be glad to see this case come to closure," she said. "I think it will be a good thing for the community."
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