AUBURN | Sean O'Rourke picked the wrong car to hot wire.
When the Auburn man unlawfully entered a truck parked on an Auburn street on Sept. 25 and stuck a screwdriver into the ignition, he had no idea the vehicle he was attempting to steal was parked in front of a police officer's home.
Speaking in Cayuga County Court Tuesday morning, O'Rourke, 44, said that as he routed around the steering column and ignition lock in an attempt to start the vehicle, he had no idea the off-duty officer was watching him.
After calling in the attempted theft, the officer walked down his driveway and confronted O'Rourke.
"A gentleman approached and asked me to freeze and get on the ground," the defendant said.
So O'Rourke fled, until the officer tackled and arrested him.
In exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree unauthorized use of a vehicle, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and third-degree criminal mischief, all felonies, along with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, O'Rourke was promised a sentence of 1 1/2 to three years in prison.
As part of the deal, the second-felony offender must pay $379 restitution.
Also in court:
• When David Kalet finishes serving one to three years in prison, the 25-year-old Auburn man promised Judge Mark Fandrich he would become a better man.
Despite his client's youthful offender status, Ryan Muldoon said Kalet was — for a time — on a good path. While living in Maryland recently, Muldoon said Kalet worked hard, dutifully paid his child support and voluntarily agreed to return to Auburn when he realized there was a warrant for his arrest.
"He was living a law-abiding life there," Muldoon said.
But when Kalet came to Auburn to face drug-related charges, Muldoon said Kalet fell back into old habits, returning to the company of bad friends and bath salts. That's when Kalet and a friend walked down a street and illegally removed batteries from multiple vehicles.
Before Fandrich sentenced Kalet to serve one to three years in prison for his third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance conviction and three years for his fourth-degree grand larceny conviction, Kalet apologized.
"I have learned a valuable lesson, and I will not make the same mistakes again," he said.
Fandrich told Kalet he hoped his promise held true.
"Unfortunately, we see the same defendants over and over again who haven't learned their lesson," the judge said.
Along with serving two years of post-release supervision, Kalet must pay $1,556.15 restitution to one victim and $120 to another.
• Nathaniel Cosby, 38, was sentenced to two years in prison for possessing and intending to sell cocaine. Cosby, of 1530 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, must also serve three years of post-release supervision for his third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance conviction.