|By Paul Peirce, Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
O'Neill estimated that Bellini stole jewelry and sports memorabilia worth more than
After listening to O'Neill, Judge
"Offering to help
As a first-time offender, Bellini was sentenced to serve two years on probation with six months of house arrest, pay O'Neill's insurance company
"I approved it, but I'm not happy with it," O'Neill said outside the courtroom.
Before the sentencing, O'Neill told Feliciani that Bellini knew she was raising her son alone and often stopped by, sometimes offering to do small chores and asking about her son's well-being. She said he would always ask "what we were doing."
"Little did I know he was only asking so he could come back later and rob me and my son," O'Neill said.
Bellini is a former television cable repair worker who is now on disability, according to his attorney,
"Mark would actually come and break into my house while he was working is what he later told me and the
O'Neill said she discovered he had been stealing from her on
She intended to use the bonds to help pay for a car for her son -- she raised him herself, "living paycheck to paycheck" -- who is now a senior criminal justice major at Indiana University of
"But everything was gone, including the jewelry," she said.
O'Neill said she immediately thought of Bellini because a remote-control
After O'Neill reported the burglary to police a few days later, Bellini's wife told her he had fled to
"I talked to him on the telephone and he was crying, and kept telling me how sorry he was and that he would make it up to me," O'Neill said. "He told me that I could take his motorcycle."
"Mark told me it was all sold to gamble at the casino," O'Neill said.
"Then, he asked me to tell the police that the reason his fingerprints were on the jewelry box was because he helped me move it. ... He was already thinking then of only getting out of it," she said.
O'Neill estimated the worth of the items stolen -- jewelry, sports memorabilia including footballs signed by Steelers players, and autographed sports trading cards -- at more than
"My mother gave me this beautiful tennis bracelet that was handmade and had specially cut diamonds on it when she was on her deathbed. ... That can never be replaced.
"I can say the items, particularly the family heirlooms, had a lot more sentimental value than cash value. But now I have nothing to pass on to my son," she said.
Bellini told Feliciani that he was "sorry" for stealing from O'Neill.
Feliciani asked Bellini how many
"I'm going to order you to attend five meetings a week as a part of the sentence. And I am warning you now that if you fail to comply, I will revoke your probation," Feliciani said.
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