A Carbon County man, scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in the county court on various charges stemming from his part in a four-county drug selling and burglary ring, instead entered guilty pleas and was immediately sentenced to a state prison term.
Wayne T. Thorpe, 46, of Nesquehoning, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary before Judge Steven R. Serfass while a jury panel waited in another courtroom to hear his case.
Thorpe was arrested along with 11 other suspects in April 2010, as part of a roundup of individuals involved in a drug selling and burglary ring. Carbon District Attorney Gary F. Dobias called it "Operation Golden Dope."
The state Attorney General's office said the 12 were involved in breaking into businesses and homes in a four county area - Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill - stealing various items, mostly jewelry, then selling the items at pawn shops. The money gained would be used to purchase illegal drugs for resale in the four county area.
Serfass accepted the plea and immediately sentenced Thorpe to serve a total of 36 to 72 months in a state prison on the three charges. The term will run consecutive to a five to 10 year state prison term Thorpe is currently serving on prior convictions in Carbon County.
Additionally, Serfass ordered Thorpe to make restitution to various victims totaling $57,278.43. He will pay a portion of the total with other defendants in the case. Thorpe must also supply a DNA sample and zero tolerance imposed on drug and alcohol use.
On Monday another defendant in the case, Waheeb Girgis, 56, of Lehighton, a pawn shop operator, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, as a felony three. Senior Judge Richard W. Webb accepted the plea but deferred sentencing to a later date.