Jury finds Harris guilty of burglary

Paul Harris

Paul Harris

John Pietrzak

 

ALBANY — On Monday, a jury in Albany County Supreme Court found Paul Harris guilty of four counts of second-degree burglary, each a violent felony.

His partner in crime, John Pietrzak, pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, a felony, according to Cecilia Walsh, spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorney’s Office.

“He has not been sentenced,” she said, explaining Pietrzak’s sentencing was to be handled by Judge Roger D. McDonough after the conclusion of Harris’s trial, over which McDonough presided.

In January, when the two men were charged in burglaries in Altamont — in homes on Sand Street and Western Avenue — in which jewelry, cash, and some small electronics were taken, Detective Christopher Laurenzo of the Altamont Police Department said the two men were in an intimate relationship, which he knew from speaking with Pietrzak and from viewing a videotaped interview of Harris by the Colonie Police.

Pietrzak, who was 26 at the time of his Altamont arrest over a year ago, lived in Schenectady. Both men were already being held in Albany County’s jail on similar charges from Colonie.

“He’s not the big fish in this picture,” Laurenzo had said of Pietrzak. He described Harris as a “career criminal.”

The jury found that Harris, 67, of Albany had, from Dec. 21, 2017 to Jan. 12, 2018, during day-time hours, entered four separate homes in Albany County — in the village of Altamont and in the towns of Guilderland and Colonie — and stolen jewelry and currency along with other property, according to a release from the district attorney’s office.

An executed search warrant uncovered the stolen property at Harris’s apartment in Albany.

Harris had been released from state prison in February 2017 after serving 20 years for a burglary conviction, according to the district attorney’s office. He was under the supervision of parole at the time the recent burglaries.

Since 1977, Harris has had 10 felony convictions, two of which were deemed violent burglary convictions, according to the district attorney’s office. If deemed a mandatory persistent violent felon at sentencing on May 10, Harris faces 100 years to life in state prison.

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