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Band of burglars plead guilty in city



Date published: 12/21/2012

BY KEITH EPPS

Six young area men who went on a burglary and destruction spree between March and June pleaded guilty to multiple charges Wednesday in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

Prosecutor Travis Bird said the group went by the name "Parliament" and collectively broke into five different businesses, most of them multiple times. Among the evidence recovered from the cellphone of one of the suspects was a video showing another suspect jumping off a roof onto the top of a car, causing more than $1,000 worth of damage.

Bird said 19-year-old twin brothers Isaac and Joshua Franklin of Fredericksburg were the ringleaders of the group, all of whom are between 19 and 21 years old. Among the businesses broken into was a law office on Lafayette Boulevard that partially belongs to their father.

Justen Duane Houghtaling of Stafford, John William Anderson, Jordan Wolf and Dmitri Higgins, all of Spotsylvania, and the Franklin brothers all pleaded guilty to between five and 11 charges Wednesday.

The Franklins were sent to jail following their court hearings, while Judge William Shaw allowed the others to remain free until Dec. 27, two days after Christmas. All six will be sentenced on either Feb. 28 or March 21.

Bird pointed out that the Franklins have long juvenile records, while the others do not. He also said the twins "have the glorious distinction of being involved in every single incident."

A seventh suspect, Charles Dylan Six of Fredericksburg, has a trial set for Jan. 23.

According to the evidence, Parliament's illegal activities began on March 15, when Isaac Franklin made a video of Houghtaling jumping from a roof onto a car while others cheered him on. The car's hood and windshield were damaged.

On May 14, the HGP building on Charles Street, also known as the Purina tower, was broken into. Isaac Franklin also filmed this burglary on his phone. The same business was broken into three days later and money and two cases of liquor were stolen.

Bird said R&R Antiques was also broken into twice, first on May 14 and again on May 30. The burglars got in through the roof and took jewelry and other items.

The College Heights Swim Club was broken into three times between June 15 and 20. Bird said the first time someone who knew the lock combination got in. The suspects broke in the other two times. Money and snacks were taken each time.

The law office was broken into on June 23 and the group broke into Roxbury Mills--two doors down from the Franklins' residence on Lafayette Boulevard--the following day. Bird said they stacked bags of rocks and climbed to a second-story window to break in. They then pried open a safe and took about $500.

The Franklins were arrested June 27.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com