By Jeff Lehr
A homeless man who was caught spending the night in the Kohl’s department store in Joplin and trying on women’s lingerie pleaded guilty Monday to burglary.
Ronald J. Rozycki, 54, pleaded guilty in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin to an amended charge of second-degree burglary in a plea agreement with the county prosecutor’s office that would limit the prison time he might be assessed to no more than five years. Rozycki initially was charged with first-degree burglary and faced a sentencing range from five to 15 years in prison.
The charge stems from his arrest the morning of Oct. 25, 2007, inside the Kohl’s store at 301 S. Geneva Ave. Store employees arriving for work were greeted by the sight of a man walking about the store in a pink camisole and pink panties taken from the store’s racks.
Police were called, and officers found the man asleep beneath a blanket at the back of the store. Nine pairs of panties and four bras were found in a pile near where Rozycki was sleeping, leading police to believe he had been trying on a number of the store’s undergarments for women.
It was unclear how long Rozycki had been in the store. But on a plea-agreement document he filled out and signed, he appeared to indicate that he stayed in the store as it was closing the previous night.
A police officer had responded at 1:30 a.m. to an alarm at the store, and the building was found to be secure. An employee with a key met the officer at the business, and a walk-through was conducted without either one spotting anything amiss. The alarm sounded again as they were leaving, and a second check also failed to locate anyone inside.
After Rozycki’s arrest later that morning, police said he apparently made no effort to break into the store’s cash register or safe during the night. But the business was forced to deem $375 worth of undergarments he wore as no longer salable.
Circuit Judge Gayle Crane postponed acceptance or rejection of the plea agreement, ordered completion of a sentencing-assessment report, and set May 4 as the date for a sentencing hearing.
Court records show that a mental-health evaluation of the defendant was completed before Monday’s plea hearing.
By Jeff Lehr
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