Prison time for attempted theft

A Parkersburg man who knocked over a Marietta Walmart employee when attempting to steal televisions more than two years ago was sentenced Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to two years in prison.

Bradley J. Giffen, 31, had tried to steal multiple televisions in June 2011 to fund his cocaine addiction, he told the court.

“I did not intend to harm anybody. I went into Walmart to steal some TVs for my drug addiction. Things went a little haywire,” he said.

When a store employee confronted Giffen, he knocked her to the ground as he fled.

“I kind of wish the victim was here. I wish I could apologize to her,” he said Thursday.

The employee wasn’t seriously injured but was taken to an area hospital and missed two weeks of work, according to Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Because the employee was harmed, what would have been a theft charge was elevated to a robbery charge. Giffen was indicted in September 2011 on a second-degree felony count of robbery. In January 2012, he pleaded to a reduced third-degree felony count of robbery.

However, he failed to show up for his Feb. 28, 2012 sentencing. He had missed the sentencing because he was arrested in West Virginia just before the scheduled sentencing and has since been serving an indefinite prison sentence there of one to 15 years in prison for trafficking in crack cocaine, said his attorney Ray Smith.

Giffen said he waived his first parole board hearing in March because he has been taking advantage of a behavioral improvement program while in prison, he said.

“We’re trying to make ourselves better,” Giffen said of the inmates enrolled in the program.

He also asked for leniency, suggesting that his sentencing on the robbery be ordered to run concurrently with the West Virginia sentence.

However, Schneider expressed concern about a concurrent sentence.

“If we do that, we lose all control over this defendant,” he said, noting that Giffen is up for parole again in March 2014.

Burnworth agreed, sentencing Giffen to 24 months in prison to start after he is finished serving time in West Virginia. However, the sentence can be revisited if Giffen’s parole is granted later rather than sooner, he said.

Giffen faced a maximum three years in prison on the charge.

No restitution was ordered because all of the property stolen during the robbery was recovered, added Burnworth.