Man gets 10 years for local burglaries

A man wanted for crimes in several states was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 10 years in prison for the string of burglaries he and his wife committed locally.

Calvin W. Riggs, 28, appeared calm throughout the proceedings as he was sentenced on 10 third-degree felony burglary charges and a second-degree felony charge of conspiracy to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity.

Riggs and his wife, 25-year-old Misty D. Bennett-Riggs, forced their way into at least 10 Washington County residences between mid-May and their June 6 arrest, stealing cash, guns, jewelry, electronics and other valuables.

Bennett-Riggs, who had pleaded guilty in July to the same 11 charges, was sentenced Aug. 29 to 10 years in prison.

As part of the plea agreement, Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings requested the same sentence for Riggs.

“We’d ask the court to impose a similar, if not identical sentence to that of his co-defendant. The state would not oppose judicial release after a period of seven years,” said Rings.

Washington County Judge Randall Burnworth did impose an identical sentence- 30 months in prison on each of the 10 burglary counts and five years in prison on the corrupt activity charge. The 30-month sentences for the first five burglary charges will run concurrently with one another but consecutively to the 30-month sentences for the final five burglary charges, meaning Riggs will serve a total of five years on the burglary charges for a 10-year total.

While the sentences for the couple were the same, the tone of Riggs’ sentencing was in stark contrast to that of his wife’s.

Bennett-Riggs had cried uncontrollably throughout her court appearance, as three of the home burglary victims talked about how the crimes had affected their families’ peace of mind, tainted their memories and destroyed priceless possessions.

None of the victims were present during Riggs’ sentencing, and Riggs remained calm throughout the sentencing, at one point telling Burnworth he planned on participating in all of the prison activities available to him.

“I plan on getting a college education,” he said.

Riggs and his wife will be jointly responsible for $4,531.25 in restitution reported by four of the 10 victims, said Burnworth.

They will also forfeit the Ford Windstar van that they used during the burglaries and any other property on their persons at the time of their arrest.

Some of the items recovered have not yet been claimed. It is possible the items could belong to victims in other counties, said Rings.

According to Riggs’ pre-sentence investigation report (PSI), a case against him in Meigs County was bound over for indictment in June, he has a pending sentencing in Jackson County, W.Va. on similar charges, and he has a 2009 warrant out of Missouri, said Burnworth.

The PSI indicated that recent charges against the couple in Florida appear to have been dismissed, he added.