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Serial burglar in Louisa faces up to 4 life-terms for thefts, witness tampering

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LOUISA, Va. (WTVR)--The crime spree affected dozens of victims in three counties and featured a suspect swiping guns and jewelry and pawning them.

Marcus Houchens from Louisa County was arrested two years ago, and his road to justice has been filled with multiple court appearances, perjury charges and finally, a conviction.

Tucked away off Shannon Hill Road in Louisa is a farming community, which locals say is good for “ol' country living.”   It’s where people living here say things are finally getting back to normal.

“I really got pissed when I got home, because the doors were wide open," said David Anderson.

It was the Fall of 2010 when Anderson came home to find his gun case in pieces and nine hunting rifles missing.  "There's still no glass in there," he said, pointing to a damaged shelf.

Detectives worked leads and targeted Houchens as a suspect.  Investigators say surveillance video showed Houchens pawning stolen items.  They say that wasn't hard to prove.

But they also say Houchens, while in jail, wrote letters to family and friends, asking them to lie on his behalf.  The letters were used as evidence in court that helped prosecutors get a conviction and arrest witnesses for conspiracy to commit perjury.

"The deputy came in and pointed at every witness and said you're under arrest,” said  Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire.  And he says the serial burglar saga didn't end there.

“He asked somebody to meet him at a location where deputies were transporting him to help him escape,” said McGuire.  “But that person turned him in."

A foiled escape, stolen guns, letters from jail.  McGuire says Houchens will have time to write plenty more letters.  His suggested sentence is four life-terms.   That’s hard time, for quick work.

“You work hard all your life and someone snatches it in 15 minutes," said Anderson, still fuming.    “My father used to say don't lie, if you have to tell another lie to cover it up."

Because several burglaries involved the thefts of police officers’ guns, which are classified as deadly weapons, Houchens faces more severe penalties.  He’ll be sentenced November 1st.   I spoke with several victims Thursday night, who say they hope this conviction means they get their stuff back.