Christmas gift thief gets state prison for second Manheim Twp. steal-and-sell spree

Patricia Ann Burnett

Serial thief Patricia Ann Burnett wasn’t as fortunate this time in Lancaster County Court.

Six months after Burnett was spared prison for stealing dozens of Christmas packages off neighbors’ porches, she was jailed for up to 69 months for a second spree.

Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely ordered the 18-to-69-month term Friday for a burglary spree in May 2013 — while Burnett was free on bail from the Christmas crimes.

She stole from neighbors in the Manheim Township area, then sold the loot on eBay, according to officials.

During a raid last year inside Burnett’s home at 2436 Lititz Pike, police found over a 1,000 items believed to be stolen.

Along with the prison term, Burnett, 40, was ordered to pay more than $19,000 in restitution, according to Assistant District Attorney Matthew Daggett, lead prosecutor. She also owes restitution from the Christmas package thefts.

Knisely also ordered a 6-year probation term when Burnett’s parole expires. In all, that’s nearly 12 years of supervision.

“Mrs. Burnett was hoping for a lesser sentence so that she could get back home to her children,” Jeffrey Conrad, Burnett’s attorney, said afterward. “But she respects the sentence of the court and recognizes that the court could have sentenced her much more harshly.”

At the first sentencing in October, Burnett — and her relatives — proclaimed her innocence.

On Friday, however, she pleaded guilty and admitted to the burglary crimes, according to officials.

• In one break-in, she stole from a neighbor who was sick in a hospital and had asked Burnett’s mother to house-sit.

• In another, she stole from a neighbor of her mother’s.

• In another, she stole from a family whose children played with Burnett’s children. The family was away on a trip to Disney World.

During the crimes, she text-messaged the victims to make sure nobody was home, according to charging documents.

Brett Hambright is a Lancaster Newspapers staff writer who covers crime and the Lancaster County court system. He can be reached at or (717) 481-6026. You can also follow @BrettHambright on Twitter.