AUBURN | Harold Capron walked into Cayuga County Court Tuesday morning crying, trying to wipe away tears with his shackled hands and arms.
After settling into his seat at the defense table, Capron twisted around to face the audience and — locking watery eyes with his wife — loudly whispered "I love you."
The 48-year-old Red Creek man was due in court to be sentenced for stealing thousands of dollars from an elderly Victory woman in 2011 under the guise of helping her.
In July, Capron, of 5793 Westbury Road, pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree grand larceny, admitting he took $4,200 from the woman.
A few years ago, the 77-year-old woman lost thousands of dollars in a phone scam. Capron, a longtime acquaintance of the victim, offered to hire an attorney for the woman to help her get back the money she lost.
After the woman accepted Capron's offer, the unemployed man drove the woman to the bank every month for seven months to cash her Social Security checks. Capron kept $600 of the woman's $824 monthly income, assuring her he was using the funds to pay her attorney.
But instead, Capron kept the money.
The scam was only discovered when a U.S. Postal Service employee noticed the woman was uncharacteristically not paying her bills and contacted Cayuga County Adult Protective Services.
Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann called the defendant's actions "despicable," explaining Capron took the woman's money to "pay for an attorney that didn't exist."
While Budelmann spoke about Capron's conduct and the two felonies on the defendant's record, Capron shook his head defiantly.
Judge Mark Fandrich sentenced Capron to spend 2 1/2 to five years in prison and pay $4,410 restitution to his victim.
"I'm very sorry for what happened," Capron said. "I know I made a mistake, and I regret it."
Also in court:
• Jeffrey Chipperfield will spend weekends in the Cayuga County Jail throughout the next four months for possessing and intending to sell marijuana.
The 45-year-old Mattydale man was sentenced to shock probation after he previously pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of marijuana.
Chipperfield, of 326 Mitchell Ave., apologized to both his family and the people of Cayuga County, saying he was sorry he let everyone down. However, the defendant said he was grateful he received a chance to get help and clean up his life.
"Believe it or not," he said, "I'm actually glad this occurred."
• In exchange for a promised sentence of 4 1/2 years in prison, Harry Hurst admitted possessing 21 packets of crack cocaine on June 6 when police watched him cross the street holding an open container of beer.
The 32-year-old Auburn man pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a narcotic drug, a felony, along with disorderly conduct and consumption of alcohol, both violations.
Hurst, of 9 Venice St., is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Along with previously being convicted of both criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance, Hurst was also acquitted of assault.