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Easter burglary ends in conviction

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

A Huntington man who was arrested on Easter and charged with multiple felonies was sentenced to serve seven years in prison and three years on probation, according to a sentencing order.

Benjamin Richard Eckert, last known address 1137 Harris St., pleaded guilty to a Level 4 felony charge of burglary in exchange for the dismissal of a Level 2 felony charge of burglary with a deadly weapon, two Level 5 felony charges of intimidation with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge of battery, according to the plea agreement.

On April 21, a woman called 911 and said two words, “My boyfriend …,” before the call disconnected, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police say the woman noticed that her dog was missing and that the back door was open when they arrived at their home after receiving threatening text messages from Eckert.

She told police that she was calling 911 when Eckert “barged” into the front door and allegedly brandished a box cutter.

When officer Shane Bickel arrived, he reported that he called out Eckert’s name and asked him what was going on. Eckert reportedly told police he was going to walk home after arguing with his ex-wife.

As he passed the officer, Bickel reported that when Eckert spoke, he could “smell the odor commonly associated with alcoholic beverages emanating from his breath.”

When asked where his knife was located, Eckert stated “What knife? I got a knife … ?”

The knife in question was a utility knife that was located in the front, right pocket of Eckert’s jeans, according to the affidavit.

The woman told the officers on scene that she had a revolver as they were attempting to secure the home after noticing the back door ajar.

Eckert reportedly claimed that he pulled the knife out after the new boyfriend pointed the gun at him gun, but the boyfriend said he never had a gun in his possession.

During the questioning of the ex-girlfriend, Officer Haines reported that Eckert had been sending her threatening text messages while she was attending an Easter family dinner.

Some of the text messages recorded in the police report show that Eckert allegedly threatened to burn down her house and cause physical harm to her boyfriend. Police say Eckert threatened to harm any of her future boyfriends.

He texted, “I’ll cut his through (sic),” but later corrected his spelling error, texting, “throat.”

He also texted, “I don’t mind prison,” “You should move” and “I know where your parents live. I’ll be there in 17 minutes,” according to the probable cause affidavit.