After women’s dog died, her neighbor broke in


Prison: Clyde Eugene Gatrell Jr. will spend the next seven years there. (Michael S. Williamson — The Washington Post)

There are burglars, and then there are burglars like Clyde Eugene Gatrell Jr.

The 39-year-old Hagerstown man was sentenced to seven years in prison this week for a pair of burglaries, including breaking into his neighbor’s home a few days after her dog died.

Why did he wait until the dog was dead?

The victim told police that Gatrell was scared of the dog.

“We trusted him. He lived right next door,” Robin Baker told a Washington County judge, according to the Herald-Mail. “For him to wait for the dog to be put to sleep (before breaking in) was worse.”

Gatrell pleaded guilty to the charges.

He used Baker’s ladder and climbed in through the second story window. He stole cash, medicine and jewelry, then pawned some of the items. In the other burglary, Gatrell stole from a couple whose lawn he used to mow.

Gatrell used the cash to support a drug habit, his attorney said.

“I betrayed their trust,” he told the judge.

And now he has seven years to ponder the consequences.

Michael Rosenwald is a reporter on the Post's local enterprise team. He writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture.

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