Probation for accomplice of the ‘pillowcase bandit’

The pillowcase bandit’s main accomplice and one of the key witnesses in the trial that put him in prison was sentenced to serve six years of probation Wednesday.

Eric James Eck was with David C. Bean, who called himself “the Pillowcase Bandit,” on at least a dozen burglaries throughout the rural parts of Lycoming County from December of 2012 to November of 2013.

Eck, 37, revealed a lot of the criminal methods of Bean when he took the stand against him in June.

The two met at a restaurant Eck was working at and began doing normal things together, according to Eck’s testimony.

Because Eck had a criminal background, their conversations quickly turned into talking about illegal activities.

“We were riding around getting a cup of coffee or something,” Eck said in June. “He (Bean) turned onto Route 867 and to a house he said he had already scoped out.”

They burglarized the house a few days later, beginning a spree that would end with over 19 homes being burglarized for mostly jewelry.

Eck testified that Bean would scope out houses from 8 to 11 a.m. and then again at 1 to 3 p.m. when people were most unlikely to be home.

Eck would usually be Bean’s getaway driver.

The two would then sift through the jewelry at Bean’s apartment and sell it to Nik’s Goldsmith, at 1604 E. Third St.

Because Eck was so cooperative in the prosecution against Bean, the District Attorney’s Office wasn’t seeking any more jail time. But they were seeking the probationary period to be 10 years.

Any sentence of supervision would be a “serious break,” First Assistant District Attorney Ken Osokow said. “But we think it should be very substantial given the nature of the crimes and his previous criminal record,” Osokow said.

Eck was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit trespassing, but the robbery charge was dropped, according to court records.

“That’s another reason for the lengthy probationary period,” Osokow said. “He was involved in multiple burglaries and wasn’t charged for them.”

The six years of probation will run consecutively to a state sentence he is currently on parole for. He served more than his minimum of 3 1/2 years in a state prison.

Eck said his maximum sentence will be served in 2020, meaning the total period of supervision will about 8 1/2 years.

At the time of his trial, Bean was serving a 19- to 38- year sentence for raping two women and filming it on a cellphone during the winter of 2012 and 2013.

Both women also testified against him during the burglary trial.

He was sentenced to serve 37 1/2 years in state prison for the burglaries. He will be serving 56 1/2 years for a period of a year-and-a-half of criminal activity.

Nicholas and Jean Lenios, the owners of the jewelry store that bought much of the stolen jewelry, each pleaded guilty to a count of receiving stolen property.

Because the couple cooperated extensively after they were charged, including testifying, they face four to five years of probation.

They are schedule to be sentenced on Oct. 11, according to court records.