Judge sentences purse snatcher to 3 years in prison

YOUNGSTOWN -- Larry Burt of Youngstown will spend the next three years in prison for taking purses from women.
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court turned down a recommendation Thursday from Patrick R. Pochiro, an assistant county prosecutor, that Burt, 44, of Bott Street, be sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison on charges of robbery and theft.
Burt pleaded guilty to the charges in January.
Police reports said Burt took a woman's purse from a shopping cart while she was at a Sparkle Market on South Avenue in Boardman on Sept. 11. A day later, he knocked down a woman and took her purse while she shopped at the Save-A-Lot supermarket on South Avenue in Youngstown.
Defense lawyer Ronald Knickerbocker said his client committed the crimes to support his cocaine addiction. Burt apologized to the victims, and told the court he would seek help in prison for his addiction.
Judge Krichbaum acknowledged that Burt took the first step toward rehabilitation by admitting his guilt and his need for help.
But, he added that Burt had forever negatively affected the lives of the women whose purses he took, particularly the one victim with whom he struggled for what he was not entitled to have.
Such actions did not merit a lighter sentence, so the judge went against the state's recommendation of 18 months. Burt will be credited with 270 days he's served in the county jail awaiting sentencing.

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