Woman who stole from grandparents sentenced in court

La Plata, MD - A woman who stole her grandmother’s jewelry and guns and coins from her grandfather to fuel her heroin addiction was sentenced in Charles County Circuit Court Monday, June 22.

Richard Madden has appeared in court multiple times over the past year. He was among the victims of a drug-based theft ring involving four defendants in Charles and St. Mary’s counties. Two of the four have already faced sentencing.

Manda Lee Swider, 26 of Clements (pictured, left), participated in the theft. Swider is Madden’s granddaughter.

“She lived with me for 17 years,” Madden told Charles County Circuit Court Judge Amy J. Bragunier. “My wife is in a nursing home. She is dying of Alzheimer’s. We’ve been married 59 years.”

Madden said he is with his wife from 7 a.m. every morning until 6 p.m.

“She knew I was away from home,” he said. “I never had no use for a thief.”

He added that among the items stolen was a $10,000 necklace he purchased for his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary.

“She stole all my guns, my wife’s jewelry and silver,” he said. “There is no excuse. She done the crime, she can do the time. I don’t want her on my property at all.”

Charles County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeremy Widder told the court that Swider does have prior offenses, including drug and theft charges. She has also taken a plea in St. Mary’s County, but hasn’t been sentenced yet, he said.

“It’s one thing to be a drug addict,” Widder said. “It’s another thing entirely to break into people’s houses.”

Defense Counsel Ben Evan agreed that Swider’s crime rampage was “drug fueled.

“She has been clean while she has been incarcerated,” Evan said.

“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” Swider told the court. “I can never take back what I did.”

Swider’s plea was to count three of a four-count indictment—conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary.

Bragunier sentenced her to 20 years and suspended all but 18 months of that sentence. She authorized work release and told Swider she would be on five years of supervised probation upon her release. She also order the defendant to undergo random urinalysis and to attend self-help meetings.

"St. Mary's County also wants her," Evan said.

"They'll have to work that out," the judge said. “Her sentence begins today.”

Contact Joseph Norris at

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