Updated: October 3, 2011 at 12:00 am
Two men were sentenced to prison Monday after pleading guilty in a home-burglary ring involving the theft of an urn containing the cremated remains of a man’s widow.
The widower, Bob Herrle, didn’t survive to see justice done. He died in July at the age of 76.
Jeremy Farr – described by prosecutors as the “ring leader” who plotted as many as 20 burglaries in and around Colorado Springs, including at Herrle’s home in Black Forest – was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
An accomplice, Damon Brimer, received a 5-year sentence.
The pair learned their fate after 4th Judicial District Judge David S. Prince heard from victims of the January crime spree. They told the judge their sense of security was lost along with their computers, jewelry, rifles and other personal belongings.
“I’m 80 years old, and I have never felt afraid to walk into my home,” said Dorothy Osborn, who said she can’t stop thinking about the thieves who made off with more than $23,000 worth of her belongings, including videos of her great-grandson and a wedding band that had belonged to her late husband.
Larry Bowin, whose home also was burglarized, said he came to court to speak for the late Bob Herrle, whose pleas for the return of his wife Terry’s ashes put a face on the crimes.
The remains were returned to Herrle in March, after someone left the mahogany box in a church parking lot and alerted the authorities. Herrle told The Gazette at the time he intended to be buried with his wife. He died after a period of declining health.
“It wasn’t long after the remains were returned,” Bowin said after the sentencing. “I think he was waiting for them.”
Bowin, Jeremy Farr’s uncle, said he “couldn’t apologize enough” to Herrle over the thefts.
"My stuff is just stuff,” he said. “But with Bob, it was his wife.”
Brimer and Farr apologized in court. Both said they struggle with drug addiction and vowed to turn their lives around. Two other suspects already have been sentenced in connection with the thefts, and at least one other case is pending, prosecutors said.