NEW ALBANY — A registered sex offender has been arrested after police say he broke into two homes near his own — one of them multiple times — and stole items including women’s and children’s undergarments.
Stephen S. Sorg, 35, is charged with three level 4 felonies for burglary, a level 6 felony for possession of a narcotic drug, four class A misdemeanors for theft and an enhancement for being a habitual offender.
He appeared for an initial hearing Monday in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1, where his bond was set at $75,000 cash only and a no contact order issued.
Court records show police responded to a residence Oct. 25, after a woman reported having come home to find an unknown man at the top of her stairwell. She said drawers had been rifled through, many underclothes belonging to her and her daughter were missing. It appeared the suspect entered through an unlocked window, and a crowbar was found inside the home.
The following day, police took a second report at the same address. This time, the woman said she had been working in her living room when she heard a loud banging at the back of the house. On checking the sound, she found the same person from the previous day trying to break in the back door. As she fled for help, the woman said she heard the sound of glass breaking.
Through investigation, police learned that Sorg, a registered sex offender, lives at Jackson Street in New Albany, within a quarter mile of the victim. They showed her his driver’s license photos, which she said she was 25% sure of being the same person; she said he was thinner in the photo.
Detectives placed surveillance cameras inside the woman’s home, where they say Sorg was caught on video Oct. 29. In that footage, court records show he can be seen holding a woman’s bra. Detectives identified him from facial features and a tattoo on his hand.
The footage shows Sorg leaving and entering multiple times, the first with a laundry basket, two other times with electronics including a TV. The victim reported that on the third occasion, Sorg had taken a 42” TV, Spectrum router and modem, Amazon Echo Dot, Sony Playstation and multiple undergarments.
A second victim also made a burglary report Oct. 28. She told police she initially thought it was only a MacBook Pro and wallet that had been taken, but later noticed multiple undergarments missing. She too lives within a quarter mile of Sorg’s home.
Police served a search warrant at Sorg’s home, where his girlfriend said he had been acting strangely over the past several days. In the cellar, they found a television, Sony Playstation 3, modem, router, undergarments and less than five grams of a substance that tested positive for heroin.
Investigators also found a bag containing a purse and clothing; police contacted the woman whose ID was found and she confirmed that her car had been broken into while she was at a New Albany gym but that she hadn’t thought anything was missing.
When police interviewed Sorg, he admitted to entering the first house through an unlocked window but fled when discovered by the homeowner, that he had tried to break in the next day with a screwdriver but was again discovered by the occupant. He also admitted to returning a third time and taking a TV, PlayStation and undergarments.
He said he knew that a woman and children lived at the home, and what the mother drove. He said when that car wasn’t parked outside, he felt comfortable entering because he thought she wasn’t home.
Prosecutor have also included a habitual offender status to Sorg’s charges. In 2007, he was convicted of a class C felony for sexual misconduct with a minor, a case that was reopened after multiple parole violations.
In 2016, he was sentenced to six months for a class B felony for voyeurism and given three months’ credit for jail time served pretrial. In March 2017, he was sentenced to a year and a half suspended in Clark County for two misdemeanors for criminal trespassing, one including voyeurism. Sorg also has twice been charged for failure to register as a sex offender.
He has a pretrial conference set for Nov. 24 with a jury trial scheduled for Feb. 15 at 9 a.m.