BEAUFORT, SC (March 17, 2023) – A 54-year-old homeless man and squatter who burglarized five homes in the Land’s End community of St. Helena Island has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
John Robert Stevens Jr., pleaded guilty Friday to five counts of first-degree burglary for breaking into homes on Sea Island Parkway, McCoy Road and Whooping Crane Lane.
“Mr. Stevens has a long history of total and utter disregard for others, their property and the law,” said Mary Jordan Lempesis of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “Our community is safer because he is behind bars.”
From August 2019 until 2022, Stevens broke into five separate homes and outbuildings. He stole televisions, lawn equipment, a speaker, coolers, a golf cart, fishing gear and tools. In at least two instances, Stevens began living in the homes while its owners were out of town. He also used their vehicles. When the homeowners returned, they found unfamiliar clothing, shoes lying about, and even dirty dishes in the sink.
Surveillance cameras at two of the houses captured Stevens walking around the property, gaining access to their homes and outbuildings, and using their vehicles. Additionally, Steven’s DNA was found on the trash can at the McCoy Road home and on the back doorknob of another Land’s End home.
Stevens also admitted to the break-ins and some of the thefts to investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Stevens’ criminal history dates to 1990 and includes convictions for stealing tires, failure to stop for blue lights, driving with a suspended license, resisting arrest, writing fraudulent checks, driving under suspension and malicious injury to personal property. In Georgia, Stevens has convictions for criminal trespassing and giving a false name, three counts of burglary, four counts of forgery, probation violations and various other offenses.
Lempesis is the first assistant solicitor for the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. She has been with the office since 2009.