Guilty pleas to break-ins

A man who made a living committing burglaries with his wife pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 11 different felony charges stemming from their two-week crime spree in Washington County.

Calvin Riggs, 28, will likely spend 10 years in prison according to the plea agreement reached Tuesday.

Riggs and his wife, Misty D. Bennett-Riggs, 25, tore through at least 10 homes in the Cutler and Little Hocking area between May 17 and their June 6 arrest, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

“The defendant and his wife entered a number of houses in Washington County, often using force. In many instances, they smashed out windows or doors,” said Rings of the burglaries.

The duo mostly stole cash, jewelry and firearms, he said. At one house, they allegedly stole $7,000 in cash and used that money to get an apartment at 2605A Athens County Road 159 in Coolville.

Another house they allegedly robbed while the owner was nearby doing farm work, said Rings.

“The man was outside farming a field behind the house when the burglary occurred,” he said.

When arrested on June 6, the two were already wanted on burglary charges in Florida and West Virginia.

Riggs pleaded guilty to 10 third-degree felony counts of burglary and a second-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

The 10 burglaries cover all the homes that investigators believe Riggs and Bennett-Riggs targeted, said Rings.

In exchange for the guilty pleas, the prosecution will seek a 10-year prison sentence and will not oppose judicial release after seven years for Riggs.

Bennett-Riggs already pleaded to the same 11 charges and will be sentenced Thursday. Prosecutors will recommend a 10-year sentence for her also and will not oppose judicial release after six years, said Rings.

Riggs had started the plea hearing Monday; however, the hearing was postponed.

“On a number of occasions you appeared confused or didn’t understand things,” said Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.

Riggs indicated he had a chance to clarify the proceedings with his attorney Jack Blakeslee and was ready to proceed.

“You understand there will be no community control and you will be sentenced to prison on these charges?” Burnworth asked.

Riggs nodded.

Riggs and Bennett-Riggs will also forfeit a Ford Windstar van that they used during the burglaries and will be required to pay restitution to the victims. No restitution figure was yet available because the prosecutor’s office is still waiting to hear from many of the victims.

Riggs is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 11.

It is possible the couple will still face charges in West Virginia and Florida, added Rings.