LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The Dansville man who was convicted at trial of several felony charges has started his 24-year sentence for a burglary spree and car theft.
Christopher Swick, 30, was sentenced to 24 years in state prison for Burglary in the Second Degree, felony Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree, felony Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, felony Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, misdemeanor Petit Larceny, misdemeanor Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, and misdemeanor Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.
“He has no job and no skills, the only thing he knows how to do is be a criminal,” said Assistant District Attorney Victor Rowcliffe, who prosecuted the case. “He is a bad person and he is going to commit more crimes. The victims are still fearful in their homes. We’re lucky in Livingston County that we don’t have serious crime. Mr. Swick has stolen that innocence from us by stealing vehicles and breaking into garages to steal property. He then tried to create a false alibi, threatening people to lie on his behalf. In order to protect this community, what we need to do is put him away for as long as possible.”
Swick was found guilty of all charges alleged by the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, Dansville Police Department, and Mount Morris Police Department. He entered multiple attached garages in and around Dansville without permission, took property, and also stole multiple vehicles. One of those vehicles, a pickup truck, he drove through the woods, crashing into trees and destroying it.
“I’m sorry that this happened to the victims in this case,” said Swick. “I should have been, as Mr. Rowcliffe said, a 30-year-old man. I have worked in the past, I’ve done hard labor to get the things that I did have. […] I have a 19-month-old daughter, she’ll be two in May. I don’t want to miss her growing up so she doesn’t know who I am.”
Swick’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender John D’Arpino, also contended that Swick has redeeming qualities.
“I’d like to take exception to part of what Mr. Rowcliffe was saying,” said D’Arpino. “My client does possess some skills. He likes to draw, and he is mechanically inclined. Though burglary is a quote unquote ‘violent’ felony, the residents were not home. He did not murder anybody, he did not rape anybody. He did not possess child porn. He didn’t cause any physical damage to the victims. He is not a dangerous person. He just uses bad judgment and and no direction.”
Judge Dennis Cohen, however, said that Swick’s pre-sentence investigation revealed an extremely extensive criminal history.
“You said you’ve never used drugs, never touched them. That’s almost worse, since some people have some kind of excuse like ‘oh, I was drunk,'” said Judge Cohen. “I certainly won’t be a judge when you get out, but I’ll recommend that any judge in the future sentence you to life as a second felony offender. I don’t want to exist in a society with you.”
Judge Cohen added that Swick’s further misdemeanor charges in Dansville, which are currently awaiting trial, can add nothing to his already significant incarceration time.
“There will be no punishment in Dansville,” said Judge Cohen. “The misdemeanors will merge into the felonies. Your sentence will be zero.”
According to the New York State Department of Corrections, Swick is currently incarcerated at Elmira Correctional Facility.