A prolific burglar with two state prison terms under his belt was sentenced Friday to an additional 18 to 21 years for burglarizing and torching the East Patchogue home of a state trooper who was on an overseas Air National Guard deployment.
"He got the max. I'm very happy with the sentence," the trooper, Eric Carver, said outside First District Court in Central Islip.
Judge John Iliou imposed the sentence on Harry Fleischmann Jr., 34, of Patchogue.
Carver, an 18-year trooper, is assigned to the Riverside barracks. He has been a member of the Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach for 28 years and holds the rank of master sergeant.
Friday, he recalled the moment he heard about the burglary and arson while deployed in Africa on Dec. 27, 2012.
"It was 12:30 at night. I was out on the flight line working on aircraft. They told me I had to call back to the base because my house was on fire," Carver said.
When he returned home Feb. 3, 2013, he said he was filled with mixed emotions.
"I was upset when I saw the house, but it was a lot different from what the fire had done," he said. "The community had come together. They had stripped all the contents out of the house, stripped all the fire-ruined wood and Sheetrock. They came in and painted and sprayed, so what I saw wasn't even close to what it looked like after the fire."
He said repairs are halfway completed. Windows and doors will be installed next, followed by the rest of the plumbing and electrical work. For now, he lives in a trailer on the property.
Fleischmann burglarized Carver's home the day after Christmas, then broke in again the next day. The second time, he packed Carver's pickup truck with household goods and set the house on fire before driving away.
At the time of his arrest on Jan. 29, 2013, Fleischmann was a convicted burglar on parole.
He was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison for burglary in 2001 and was given another 3 to 6 years in 2004, also for burglary, records show.
"I don't have any confidence of him being rehabilitated," Carver said Friday. "But as long as he's in [jail] he won't be making other people's lives miserable for a period of time, and that's a win for all of us."
Jill Butler, also a master sergeant in the Air National Guard, came to court with Carver and said she had been house-sitting for him while he was away in 2012, but she’d gone to Massachusetts to visit her family for Christmas.
After the fire, she rushed back to Long Island and saw the badly charred house. “It was awful, just awful,” she said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the length of Harry Fleischmann Jr.’s prison sentence.