By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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William Keith Harsh, 29, was sentenced Oct. 31 in Clallam County Superior Court to 10½ years in state prison after being convicted of six counts of residential burglary and one count of theft of a firearm, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.
He was charged with Sequim/Carlsborg-area burglaries in January of last year, according to court documents.
He was found guilty in a jury trial Sept. 13.
After a five-month criminal investigation, sheriff’s deputies zeroed in on Harsh as a suspect while he was serving time in the Monroe Correctional Complex for unrelated drug and stolen-vehicle charges committed in Snohomish County, Clallam County Detective Sgt. Lyman Moores said Friday.
Moores said that in a taped confession to investigators while in prison, Harsh said he burglarized homes in the Sequim and Carlsborg areas to look for prescription medication to feed his drug habit.
“His own words were, he was smoking oxycontin, as many 40 [pills] per day,” Moores said.
Crushing up oxycontin pills, a narcotic pain reliever, and smoking them is a way to ingest the drug in order to achieve a high, Moores explained.
Harsh told investigators he would drive around rural Clallam County looking for vacant-looking homes, and if he confirmed no one was home, he would break in by kicking down the front door, Moores said.
Harsh would then steal property and later sell or trade it for drugs, Moores added.
The Sheriff’s Office investigated more than 30 daytime burglaries during that time.
Property stolen during these burglaries included flat-screen TVs, prescription medications, laptop computers, cameras and handguns, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Moores said the Sheriff’s Office never thought Harsh was involved in all 30 burglaries, suspecting instead that Harsh worked with an accomplice who is currently serving time on unrelated charges in the Monroe Correctional Complex.
Moores said both men had lived in the area of the burglaries and eventually moved to Everett.
Moores said the time in between the crimes Harsh committed and his trial and sentencing was longer than usual, but Moores added that he suspected the county Prosecutor’s Office did not feel pressed to charge Harsh because he already was incarcerated in Monroe.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.