ELKTON — A woman who maintained that she was taking property from an Elkton-area home as part of a foreclosure — when the actual homeowner and a Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputy confronted her — is facing up to 10 years in prison after accepting a plea deal.
The defendant, Calystia Marie Smith, age unavailable, of Elkton, pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary during a Cecil County Circuit Court hearing on Monday, two days before her jury trial was scheduled to start. Smith had faced other related charges, including first-degree burglary, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence, and theft, court records show.
As of Tuesday, a sentencing date for Smith had not been set.
Retired Cecil County Circuit Court Judge V. Michael Whelan accepted Smith’s guilty plea during Monday’s proceeding. Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Christopher Nelson and Smith’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Edwin B. Fockler IV, negotiated the plea agreement.
Smith was arrested and charged on March 23, after the homeowner and a CCSO deputy caught her inside a house in the 1100 block of Leeds Road, northeast of Elkton, police said. Smith maintained that she was taking property from the place as part of a foreclosure, police added.
There was one problem with that story, however, according to court records.
“(The homeowner) advised that her house is paid off and not in foreclosure,” according to the original charging document.
CCSO Deputy Joshua Mickle responded to that Leeds Road home at approximately 5:10 p.m. on March 23, after receiving a report about a burglary, police said.
Once there, police added, the deputy saw a blue Kia Sorento parked in the front lawn and the homeowner standing in front of Smith inside the house, which he later learned was done to prevent the intruder from fleeing before law enforcement arrived.
The homeowner told the deputy that she had gone to her Leeds Road residence several moments earlier and found Smith there, after a former neighbor had called to inform her that a “strange vehicle” was parked in her front lawn, police reported.
Mickle spoke with Smith, who explained that she was inside the house “for a foreclosure job” and that she was taking any property of value, to be sold at a later date, court records show.
But the homeowner challenged Smith’s explanation, reporting that her home is paid off and, therefore, could not be in foreclosure, according to court records.
During his on-scene investigation, Mickle found property inside the Kia Sorento that the homeowner verified belonged to her, police said. The investigator also determined that Smith had driven the Kia Sorento to that residence, police added.