Beverly man sentenced out of string of burglaries

A Beverly man who participated in a string of area burglaries was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to the maximum available sentence-six months in the Washington County Jail.

Allen J. Grigg, also known as Anthony Johnson, 21, of 731 Center St., pleaded guilty Sept. 27 to five felonies and two misdemeanor charges.

The charges included two fourth-degree felony counts of theft, two fourth-degree felony counts of burglary, a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering, and two first-degree misdemeanor counts of theft.

Grigg, along with a then 17-year-old male and a married couple, targeted four Lowell homes, a Lowell business, and a New Matamoras home that burnt to the ground the night of the burglary. Around $15,000 worth of items were estimated to be stolen.

The couple-26-year-old Susan Knotts and 25-year-old Steven Knotts-have both been sentenced on charges surrounding the incident.

Susan was sentenced in August to 90 days in the Washington County Jail for helping hide property stolen during the burglaries. Steven was sentenced in June to five years in prison.

The juvenile was sentenced in Washington County Juvenile Court in January on seven charges related to the incident and ordered to serve 18 months in a juvenile correction facility, said Washington County Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Williams.

However, Johnson could not be sent to prison on the charges, noted Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.

“It’s my understanding that prison is not an option in this case. Is that your understanding?” Lane asked Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham.

Graham and defense attorney Ray Smith both agreed that Johnson could not be sent to prison. Though Lane described Grigg as having “an extensive juvenile record,” he did not have a prior felony conviction which would have made him eligible for prison.

Smith said that Grigg has experienced mental health issues in the past but is doing well after being prescribed medication. There was originally a question of whether Grigg would be found competent to undergo the criminal proceedings. However after a couple of months spent in counseling and on medication, he was declared competent in June.

Smith said he understood Grigg would receive a long sentence but asked the court to consider Grigg’s maturity level and cooperativeness.

“It was clear he’s very immature. He’s very young….He talked to officers and was helpful. He was candid about his involvement,” said Smith.

Asked if he would like to make a statement, Grigg exchanged questions with Smith before simply answering, “I apologize.”

Though prison was not presently an option, Lane said he would not hesitate to send Grigg to prison if he violated community control or any of his post-jail requirements.

In addition to jail time, Lane ordered five years of community control, completion of a program at SEPTA Correctional Facility after Grigg’s jail stay, continued counseling at L&P Services, and participation in “Thinking For A Change,” a cognitive behavioral change program developed by The National Institute of Corrections.

He also ordered Grigg to forfeit two firearms that were seized from him after the break-ins.

No restitution has been requested at this time, said Graham.