Laramie Man Admits to Felony Theft
A man accused of stealing and pawning watches, jewelry and other valuables from a woman who opened her home to him entered a guilty plea Tuesday in Albany County District Court.
Mark Eitniear, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. In exchange, the state agreed to drop six other charges – four of them felonies – and recommend probation at sentencing, so long as Eitniear pays restitution on all counts.
In addition to paying full restitution, Eitniear could spend up to 10 years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine.
Eitniear said in court Tuesday that he had a serious drug addiction and lost his apartment after spending all his money on drugs. The victim let Eitniear stay with her.
Eitniear was arrested after the victim called the Laramie Police Department March 25 to report money missing from her bank account and property missing from her house.
Court documents say Eitniear contacted the victim for a ride home from Walmart on March 25, but Eitniear was not there when the victim arrived to pick him up. The victim told police Eitniear later contacted her through Facebook and said “I’m on a bus headed south about a 3 day ride to Mississippi.”
Eitniear later admitted it was a ruse to get the victim out of the house, according to the police affidavit.
The victim told police she was missing two Invicta watches she bought for her son. Each watch is valued at over $1,000 according to court documents.
Also missing was a ring worth over $700, a one-ounce Canadian gold coin and a less than $300 from the victim’s bank account. Court documents say the victim found her debit card on her couch with a $20 dollar bill on it after Eitniear left her house. The victim said she gave Eitniear the PIN for the card for a prior transaction, but did not give Eitniear permission to take the missing money from her account.
According to the police affidavit, an officer reviewed pawn receipts for the coin and watches. The victim told the officer Eitniear had admitted to pawning the ring and was trying to get it back.
The officer learned from the victim that Eitniear had purchased bus tickets in Fort Collins, Colo., and the officer found Eitniear on a Greyhound bus on March 27. Police read Eitniear his Miranda rights before an interview in which Eitniear admitted to withdrawing $280-$290 from the victim’s account without permission as well as stealing and pawning the victim’s valuables.
“I knew her son through other bad situations,” Eitniear said Tuesday in court. “She knew I needed help, and she allowed me to move in with her.”
Eitniear remains free on $10,000 signature bond pending sentencing. The court will schedule a sentencing hearing once the presentence investigation has been completed.