BRENTWOOD — A Massachusetts burglar who broke into an empty house that was for sale in Windham and tussled with a 64-year-old neighbor was sentenced Tuesday to 1 to 3 years in state prison.
Robert Dalton, 35, of Lowell, Mass., pleaded guilty to robbery and burglary for attempting to break in to a Windham home on Feb. 21 with another Massachusetts man, who is serving a county jail sentence for his role in the case.
Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said that Dalton and his cohort, Vietnam Dang, were burglarizing the home when a neighbor, Katherine Reader, approached the men thinking they might be her new neighbors.
Once Reader realized a pair of locks was broken, she confronted the burglars and shooed Dalton away with a broom.
Dalton knocked Reader to the ground while trying to flee to his car, but his escape was short-lived, according to Blanchard. Dalton backed his car into a snow bank and got stuck. Windham police arrested him at the scene.
Dang, 34, of Worcester, Mass., was apprehended by Windham police while he was walking along a nearby road. He is serving six months in the county jail after pleading guilty to felony burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary in September.
Blanchard said his office sought a state prison term for Dalton because he formulated the plan to target a New Hampshire home during school vacation week and pushed Reader to the ground during his botched escape.
Dalton had agreed to testify for the state had Dang taken his case to trial, Blanchard told the judge.
Judge Marguerite Wageling accepted terms of the negotiated plea deal and ordered Dalton to have no contact with Reader. He was also ordered to pay $1,375 in restitution.
He is expected to begin serving his state prison term on Dec. 6.