Pair guilty in crime spree
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Dec 10, 2013, 16:49
PRINCE GEORGE — A woman involved in a string of burglaries throughout Prince George County faces up to 160 years in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of breaking and entering and grand larceny in Prince George Circuit Court on Thursday afternoon.
Brittney Wells, 23, of Dinwiddie, was found guilty by a judge of four felony counts of breaking and entering and four felony counts of grand larceny for a series of burglaries that took place during May and June of this year.
Wells was also convicted of four misdemeanors, two counts of being an accessory after the fact to breaking and entering and two counts of being an accessory after the fact to grand larceny. These four convictions were reduced to misdemeanors from felonies.
Each of her eight felony counts is punishable by one to 20 years imprisonment, for a potential maximum of 160 years imprisonment and an eight year minimum.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Livingston said that Wells would most likely get a sentence considerably lower than the maximum punishment.
Wells pleaded not guilty to a total of 16 charges on Thursday.
The break-ins took place earlier this summer at various locations including Prince George Drive, Horseshoe Road, South Crater Road among others, where Wells would accompany Brian Miller around Prince George County, helping him steal jewelry and drugs from houses and selling the stolen valuables to pawn shops.
Miller, from Petersburg, pleaded guilty in October to 16 felony charges, including eight counts of breaking and entering and eight counts of grand larceny.
For the majority of the burglaries, Miller and Wells would drive around in a maroon van just looking for people that weren’t home, and if nobody came to the door when Miller rang the doorbell, then he would just kick in either the front or back door, Miller testified.
Sometimes Wells would drop Miller near a house and drive around and pick him up after the break-in, and there was one time that Wells also went into the house with her, Miller said.
“She helped me carry out the Xbox,” Miller said.
Items taken from these houses included jewelry, money, prescription drugs, an Xbox, Ipods, a Nook and sunglasses.
When Miller was arrested on June 18, he confessed to his crimes, including Wells’s involvement and rode around with detectives pointing out all of the locations he had broken into, Miller testified.
Miller testified that confessing was a way to escape an undesirable life that he had created.
“I got to a point in my life where I was hopeless,” Miller said.
Wells, who has a 2-year-old son, said that during the time of the burglaries, all she did was either pick Miller up or drop him off at a location, and that she didn’t know he was breaking into homes to steal things, according to video footage of an interrogation.
“He swore to me it was his ex-wife’s stuff he was selling,” Wells said in the video.
Kim Hamilton, owner of the Hopewell Gold & Coin pawn shop, testified that Wells came into the shop four or five times, and one time with Miller.
Wells and Miller sold her jewelry of which she still had receipts and turned over the goods when it was discovered they were stolen, Hamilton said.
When Miller sold Hamilton the jewelry, he told her that he was getting a divorce and had received it as part of a settlement, according to Hamilton’s testimony.
The prosecution, led by Livingston, argued that both individuals were stealing to maintain a drug addiction.
Miller testified that much of the profits were spent on pain medications, and whatever they didn’t spend on drugs, they used to buy coffee, food, movies and other items.
“We pretty much split everything I got,” Miller said when asked whether or not Wells got a cut of his earnings.
Wells is scheduled to receive her sentencing on May 1, 2014.