Originally published Dec. 22, 1988, Sun-Sentinel
Stealing a piggy bank will cost Henry Hatten nine years in the pen.
He drew that sentence after a jury found him guilty of breaking into Sylvia Jones’ Riviera Beach home and stealing her son’s plastic piggy bank.
Hatten, 29, stole the bank on July 15, three weeks after completing his fourth prison sentence in 10 years.
On Wednesday, County Judge Howard Berman considered Hatten’s seven previous felony convictions before giving him the maximum nine-year prison term.
“If you have to be broken into, this is the guy to have,” Jones said. “He’s very neat, he doesn’t trash the place and he only takes a piggy bank.”
Jones said she bought the sow for her son’s savings after he was born, almost 32 years ago.
Jurors chuckled during the trial last month when the piggy bank was introduced as evidence. Police said it was stuffed with $75 in change.
The bank is still in state custody. Jones wants to bring home the bacon.
“I definitely want it back,” she said. “It’s been in the family almost 32 years.”
Hatten first went to prison in 1978 for auto theft and returned three more times for burglaries.
Prosecutors say he is well-known for combing Riviera Beach neighborhoods on a small bicycle and making quick hits during daylight hours.
“He only takes what he can carry on his bicycle,” Assistant State Attorney Michael Celeste said.
Last year, Celeste secured a four-year prison term for Hatten on another home burglary. He went to prison in September 1987.
But under the state’s early-release program, Hatten served only nine months. He was released on June 23 and broke into Jones’ house 22 days later.
Copyright 1988, Sun-Sentinel