WOODSTOCK — One of three Page County men charged in connection with a rash of break-ins and vehicle thefts in three counties pleaded guilty Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.
Raymond Lee Shifflett, 19, of Luray, pleaded guilty to felony breaking and entering and felony grand larceny. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
Following the guilty pleas, Judge Dennis Hupp transferred the case to Page County Circuit Court, where Shifflett also faces charges. A judge in Page County will sentence Shifflett on the Shenandoah County charges, in addition to charges he faces there. Shifflett has a pending plea agreement in Page.
During Wednesday's hearing, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Louis Campola told Hupp that Shifflett broke into Page Valley Tobacco in New Market in October and stole $1,200 worth of cigarettes.
Shifflett is due in Page County court on April 28.
In addition to Shifflett, Clay Francis Lucia Jr., 29, and Joseph Lee Pearce, 22, both of Luray, are charged in connection with break-ins in the Shenandoah Valley, including one at the Melrose City Grocery and Deli at 5101 N. Valley Pike on Sept. 22. In recent months, deputies in Page, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties have investigated about 20 burglaries of homes and outbuildings. Pearce faces charges in Shenandoah County, but Lucia does not. Pearce is due in general district court there on May 5 for a preliminary hearing.
In the Melrose break-in Rockingham, police say, surveillance video shows the trio making off with dozens of cartons of cigarettes.
All three men are due in Rockingham County Circuit Court for plea hearings on Friday.
All three are being held without bond at Page County Jail.