By GARY POPP
A 73-year-old woman said the third burglary in three years at her and her husband’s downtown Jeffersonville shop won’t keep them from doing business as usual.
Loretta and Clifton Beckner — owners of Designer Fragrance & Gifts at 423 Spring St. for nearly 30 years — were awakened by a telephone call from the Jeffersonville Police Department about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning telling them their store had been broken into. Loretta Beckner said she knew before picking up the phone it was someone calling about the store. When the officer asked if she was the owner of Designer Fragrance & Gifts, she said knew the store had been burglarized.
What Loretta Beckner didn’t know at the time was Jeffersonville police would soon find, hiding in the business, Michael D. Standiford, 38, Blue Teal Lane in Jeffersonville, a man she has known for nearly 20 years and who has been charged with burglary, a class C felony. Standiford’s mother previously held a part-time job at the store, and he would come in from time to time and visit with her.
STRING OF BREAK-INS
Loretta Beckner said she hopes Standiford will serve time for the crime and that he is able to get help for whatever problems he has that led him to break into a business for a pocketful of change.
She said the series of burglaries in recent years is unsettling for her and her husband.
“You feel so violated,” she said. “It is a bad feeling. It really is.”
Loretta Beckner said police have told her that Standiford said her and her husband were nice people who treated his mother well, and that he did not commit the break-in as retaliation. She said nothing in the store other than the change was disturbed or stolen during the incident.
Loretta Beckner said Designer Fragrance was also burglarized in 2011 and 2012, and all the break-ins have occurred when the business was closed.
“I am more scared of being held up during the day, and I’ve never been, thank the good Lord,” Loretta Beckner said. “At night, whenever they break in, let them take it and get away, just don’t hold us up and hurt somebody.”
Beckner said she doesn’t know who broke into her and her husband’s business in 2011 or 2012, but said all the break-ins have had similar characteristics and she is comforted knowing Standiford is now behind bars.
“It did bother me, really bothered me, you know, after the first time and the second time. When were they going to hit again?”
The Beckners never considered closing there business because of the crimes, however, but they did quit leaving cash in the store overnight.
“It still doesn’t make me want to give up the ship,” Loretta Beckner said.
Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said he will seek maximum punishment for Standiford.
“It is my intent [that] he is off the street for 20 years,” he said Thursday.
Before police responded to Designer Fragrance, a witness called about 4 a.m. to report she had heard glass breaking and saw a man climb through the front window of the business. The witness also reported she had not seen the man exit the building.
Police responded, located the broken window and set up a perimeter around the building. The Beckners were then contacted and also came to the scene.
Police entered the business with the assistance of a K-9 unit. Getting no response, officers then went to door in the back of the business leading to a small storage area near a rear exit. The K-9 unit was then released and, after finding Standiford hiding under garments and blankets, bit his left foot. Police reported that even while his foot was in the K-9’s jaws, Standiford refused to comply with officers. When Standiford eventually complied with police, the K-9 was ordered to release its bite.
After Standiford was taken into custody, police found his pockets stuffed full of change, which he told police he had taken after breaking into the building.
Standiford was taken to Clark Memorial Hospital for treatment to the bite wound before he was booked into the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex.
Standiford told investigators that he had targeted Designer Fragrance & Gifts because his mother previously worked there, and he was familiar with the layout.
“[Standiford] advised he was searching only for money so he could get a hotel room and food,” according to the report.
Mull said Standiford was charged with habitual offender status, which allows the advisory sentence of the adjoining class C felony burglary charge be extended three times, plus the original sentencing term. The burglary charge carries a two to eight year sentence, with a four-year advisory sentence.
It is possible the for Standiford to be charged with the maximum eight-year sentence, plus 12 years from the habitual enhancement.
Standiford is being held under a no bond, 15-day hold. At the end of that term, a $25,000 full-cash bond will go into effect.
A pretrial conference has been scheduled for Nov. 25 in Clark Circuit Court No. 4.