A Juniata Park man was sentenced in absentia yesterday to up to 70 years in prison on burglary and robbery charges in connection with a 2007 home invasion in which he and another man, pretending to be police, burst into a North Philadelphia home to rob it.
Sean Shields, 33, of Lawndale Street near Erie Avenue, whose whereabouts are unknown to authorities, failed to show up for his trial in May. He was there only for jury selection.
The Common Pleas jury convicted him of robbery and burglary charges in his absence. It acquitted him of weapons offenses.
Yesterday, Judge Chris R. Wogan sentenced Shields to from 30 years and three months to 70 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Kirsten Heine said that on April 27, 2007, Shields and accomplice Isaac Warren invaded a house on Dauphin Street near 10th. Two men and a woman, in their 30s, were inside.
According to one male complainant, whom Heine would identify only by his first name of Clinton, both Shields and Warren, armed with guns and dressed in civilian clothes, yelled: "Police! Get on the f------ floor!"
Clinton had a hunch that Shields and Warren weren't police, and so he pushed his female friend to the basement, Heine said. He then called 9-1-1. Clinton heard Warren yelling, "Where's the money?" at the other man, named Anthony, Heine said.
Authorities alleged that Shields and Warren believed that drug money was in the house.
Police showed up at the house after the 9-1-1 call and arrested Shields and Warren. Warren was caught with three guns - two in his pockets and one on the floor nearby. Shields did not have a gun on him, but a gun was on a nearby table, Heine said.
Warren, 35, pleaded guilty to burglary and robbery charges and was sentenced earlier this month to eight to 20 years in prison as part of a negotiated agreement. He faces a federal case on the gun charges, Heine said.