Suspect agrees to plea bargain in burglary spree

A southwest Bartholomew County man suspected of committing multiple burglaries on a single day last summer is scheduled to be sentenced late this month.

Darrik R. Burton, 33, of 5321 Pine St., Columbus, pleaded guilty in Bartholomew Superior Court 1 to one count of burglary as a Level 4 felony, as well as a misdemeanor charge of theft.

It was part of a plea agreement where other charges, including a second count of burglary, are expected to be dropped during a 3 p.m. sentencing hearing Feb. 28 before Superior Court Judge Jim Worton.

Two women who live in different residences along State Road 46 West were both home Aug. 27 when someone tried to force their way inside their houses, according to a probable-cause affidavit written by Bartholomew County Sheriff’s investigator.

During the noon hour, the first woman kept hearing someone knocking on her locked front door, the affidavit stated.

But when she saw someone shaking the door handle, she got a gun, the investigator wrote.

After hearing noises a short time later coming from another room, the woman discovered an unknown male in her kitchen going through a bag that resembled a purse, the affidavit stated.

The investigator wrote that he was called to the house after the intruder escaped from the armed occupant by running out the door. But while he was on the scene, he received word that Burton was caught by another deputy at another house just down the highway.

After the first woman identified Burton as the intruder, the defendant admitted he had attempted to enter the two homes located west of the Westhill Shopping Center, the affidavit stated.

Investigators then talked with the occupant of the second home who said she heard someone knocking on her back door, the affidavit stated.

The door-handled lock already had been splintered, and she saw someone attempting to reach inside to unhook a chain lock, the investigator wrote.

However, after the second woman shouted that she had a gun, the intruder fled from the residence — only to be caught by another deputy, the affidavit stated.

During questioning, Burton claimed he was either trying to find cigarettes or seek shelter from the rain during both incidents, according to the affidavit.

When Burton admitted burglarizing the home of his own grandparents two months earlier, he claimed he was only after a piece of cherry pie, the affidavid said.

In a separate affidavit regarding the June 8 burglary, investigators stated they found a screen had been removed and a window broken at the home of Burton’s grandparents.

Inside, money had been taken out of two separate containers hidden in different rooms, according to the affidavit.

The burglary took place just hours after the defendant asked his grandmother for money and she didn’t comply, the affidavit stated.

Court records show one previous felony conviction for Burton. He received a 3½ year suspended sentence in 2007 after pleading guilty to two drug-related charges, including possession of methamphetamine.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.