An Elkins man involved in the theft and destruction of vehicles from several local businesses was sentenced in Randolph County Circuit Court Friday.
Steven Allen Pritt, 23, was sentenced as a youthful offender, meaning he will serve an indeterminate term of six months to two years at the Anthony Correctional Center in White Sulphur Springs before a final decision is made about how much time, if any, he'll serve in the state penitentiary.
In February, Pritt pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit possession of a stolen vehicle, one felony count of grand larceny and one felony count of conspiracy to commit breaking and entering.
Pritt is one of three Elkins men allegedly involved in the May 25-26, 2012, and the June 6, 2012, theft and destruction of several vehicles from local car dealerships and companies, including a 1995 Jeep Wrangler and a 2004 Buick Century from Autocrafters and a 1994 Ford F-150 from Custom Paving and Sealing.
Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker recommended Pritt be sentenced to one to five years in the state penitentiary on each count of felony conspiracy and one to 10 years in the state penitentiary on the grand larceny charges.
He recommended the sentences run consecutively.
However, due to Pritt's age and the fact he's already served 256 days in jail, Parker asked that the sentence be suspended in favor of Pritt serving time at the Anthony Correctional Center, where he has the opportunity to earn his GED and take advantage of other services, such as counseling and substance abuse treatment.
Judge Roger L. Perry, sitting by special assignment, ordered that Pritt be sentenced as a youthful offender, adding he would delay making a final decision on Pritt's sentence until a review hearing can be held.
"If you come back early, then it's likely you'll get the maximum sentence," Perry warned.
Parker said he's hopeful Pritt will emerge from the Anthony Center with a new set of skills he can use to be a productive member of society.
"The state wants to see him have a trade that will hopefully prevent him from engaging in criminal activity in the future," Parker said after the sentencing hearing. "He'll be able to do that while he's still incarcerated."
In November, Pritt was indicted on a long list of charges, including 21 felonies and one misdemeanor. He is the first of the three men named in the indictment to enter into a plea agreement. The cases of Clinton Dale McCauley, 21, and Brandon Keith Shreve, 26, both of Elkins, have yet to be resolved.