PENDLETON - A 19-year-old Pendleton man accused of numerous residential and business burglaries during November 2003 pleaded guilty Monday, admitting he stole to support his methamphetamines addiction.

Kristopher Lee Morton, 415 S.W. Seventh Street, No. 4, was arrested Nov. 28 by the Pendleton police on suspicion of thefts and burglaries of jewelry and cash around Pendleton.

Morton admitted to Judge Rudy Murgo in Umatilla County Circuit Court Monday that he "was doing it for meth," said Umatilla County Deputy District Attorney Wade McLeod.

As part of a plea agreement with the DA's office, several charges of second-degree theft and criminal mischief were dismissed. Morton pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree possession of meth.

McLeod said Morton will serve 38 months in prison without the possibility of early release. He pleaded guilty in early November to a September 2003 incident of first-degree burglary and was placed on probation for three years.

Morton's fall crime spree involved residences and businesses. He took mostly jewelry and cash.

"His typical approach (was to) find a residence, knock on the door, and if no one was home, forcibly enter," said Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts.

Roberts noted one incident in which Morton knocked on the door of a home and the owner answered. Morton made up an excuse to come inside and use the phone. He then stole some items and later came back when the home's owners were not there and burglarized the residence.

Roberts said that while burglary in Pendleton has not decreased much since Morton was arrested in November, the frequency of burglaries has gone down.

"Most of our burglary cases have been solved or are solved fairly quickly," Roberts said. "We most often know who our suspects are."

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