Niles man gets prison time for apartment break-in
Published 1:10 pm Monday, August 28, 2023
NILES — A Niles resident who broke into an area apartment last year was sentenced to prison Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.
Seth Torrese Lipscomb, 52, of Niles, was found guilty of breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny as a habitual offender at a jury trial earlier this year and was sentenced Monday to 60 months to 30 years in prison. He must pay $198 in fines and costs.
He has credit for no time served as he was on parole at the time of the incident and this sentence will be consecutive to any sentence he gets for violating his parole. He was sentenced March 22, 2020 to 19 months in prison for a similar offense of breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny.
The incident in the current case occurred Oct. 12, 2022 when he broke into an apartment building on North 17th Street in Niles and stole money out of a coin operated washing machine and a coin operated dryer.
Lipscomb was also ordered to pay $4,537.35 in restitution for damage to the washer and dryer after a restitution hearing Monday. Building owner Anthony Sergio testified as did a repairman.
Lipscomb continued to maintain his innocence in remarks before the sentencing. He acknowledged that he has a long criminal record but denied committing this crime. “Today I stand before you as an innocent man,” he told Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith.
Defense attorney Peter Johnson asked for a lower sentence. He noted that Lipscomb is employed, has the support of his family and goes to church. He pointed out that Lipscomb has been in jail for nearly 11 months and will get no credit for that due to being on parole.
Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold asked for a sentence of 76 months in prison which is at the top end of the guidelines. “This is what he does, he breaks into apartment buildings and laundry rooms, he is a repeat offender,” she said.
Judge Smith said she didn’t have any reason to disagree with the jury’s verdict. “This is your history and it’s pretty clear that it was you on the video,” she said. “You may not think it is a big deal to take coins out of a machine but it is a big deal for the people who rely on that money for income.”