A Maryland man has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for a series of Montgomery County burglaries that included hitting a church and a funeral home, officials said.
Paul Jerome Holt, 34, was sentenced this week in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He had been convicted in July of nine counts of burglary, one count of attempted burglary and six counts of theft.
Holt is responsible for a number of burglaries of businesses and commercial establishments in the area, including in Gaithersburg, Rockville and Germantown. During the course of the spree in 2011, he took items including laptop computers, other electronics and cash. He stole more than $80,000 worth of equipment, officials said.
One of the burglaries was at Danzansky-Goldberg Memorial Chapels, a Jewish funeral home in Rockville. There, a safe was pried open and cash and a book of car wash tickets were taken, according to charging documents.
Another of the burglaries took place at Seneca Creek Community Church in Gaithersburg. The suspect stole a laptop from the chapel and the main office and electronics from the children's area.
According to charging documents, Holt's girlfriend drove him to area motels and hotels, and he would stay at rooms registered under his girlfriend's name. At night, he would head out and commit burglaries, entering office buildings with and without force.
Holt was caught on surveillance video in some of the burglaries. He was "distinctive in his height and his body build and has a distinctive long beard down to his chest," a charging document stated. He also wore a black skull cap on multiple occasions.
When police interviewed Holt and showed him surveillance photographs, he acknowledged that the images were of him.
"When a defendant breaks into businesses to steal and is brazen enough to ignore or tamper with security cameras, he flaunts his blatant disregard of the law," Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said in a news release. "This sentence sends a strong message that you cannot break into businesses, burglarize them and get away with it. This activity will not be tolerated in our community."