New case filed against ballroom dance instructor charged in 3 break-ins at same Lawrence cigar shop

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Phillip Michael Carney, pictured in January 2020

A man who has been charged in connection with three reported burglaries of the same Lawrence cigar shop has now been charged in a fourth case for allegedly removing his ankle bracelet GPS monitor.

Phillip M. Carney, 38, was arrested Thursday, Jan. 2, and Saturday, Jan. 4, in connection with reported burglaries of Cigar House Lawrence, the Journal-World has reported. After his first arrest, he was also charged in connection with an alleged Nov. 11, 2019, burglary at the same location.

Recent jail booking log entries have listed addresses for the ballroom dance instructor in Bonner Springs, Lenexa and Overland Park.

On Thursday, Carney was formally charged with tampering with an electronic monitoring device, a midlevel-severity felony. In previous cases, he’s charged with two counts of burglary, battery on law enforcement, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, one count of attempted burglary, interference with law enforcement and two counts each of theft and criminal damage to property.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Eve Kemple has alleged that Carney cut off the bracelet. He said last time he was in court that it was hurting, so he adjusted it; then a clip came undone, and the bracelet fell off.

Carney’s appointed defense attorney, Dakota Loomis, questioned the timing of the charge in the new case and asked why it was not filed when his client had allegedly returned to Lawrence and been found inside the same store on Jan. 4.

Judge Amy Hanley has set multiple high bonds in Carney’s cases, all of which he has made.

“I have a financial backer who has been kind enough to help me with this,” Carney told the judge. One of his dance students — who was in attendance for Thursday’s hearing — had helped him pay for the roughly $150,000 total in surety bonds.

However, according to the financial affidavit in his case, he qualified to have an attorney appointed for him. Hanley noted that during the hearing, and she said that the time Loomis is representing Carney might be better spent elsewhere because there are people in the courts who have no resources whatsoever and need appointed attorneys.

She also made a point that should Carney have to forfeit his bond, she would order that it be kept.

Kemple had requested that Hanley raise Carney’s bond in his new case from $10,000 to $200,000 cash or surety. She provided Hanley a letter from Carney’s mother on Thursday. Hanley did not read the letter aloud, but it indicated that Carney’s parents feared for their safety and asked that he not be released from jail.

Kemple also told Hanley that she believed Carney had a number of misdemeanors in his criminal history, including a pending case in Johnson County.

Loomis objected to the bond increase. He said Carney had attended all of his court appearances, and that he did not believe his client was a danger to public safety.

Hanley asked Loomis whether he thought it was “very unusual” for a parent to send a letter such as the one Carney’s mother had sent. Loomis said no; he frequently hears from parents asking that their children be kept in jail because they think they are a danger to themselves or others.

Ultimately, the judge left bond in Carney’s new case at $10,000 but instead raised it in each of his previous three cases by $50,000. She told Loomis that the new information about Carney’s criminal history and in the letter, coupled with the severity of the charges such as aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, gave her grave concern.

Carney, who wore a plum suit, was taken into custody and booked back into the Douglas County Jail Thursday afternoon. As of 7:27 p.m., he was being held on a total of $290,000 cash or surety bond. His next court appearance is set for Feb. 20.

Contact Mackenzie Clark

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Related coverage

Jan. 9, 2020: Judge sends ballroom dance instructor, charged in 3 burglaries at Lawrence cigar shop, back to jail

Jan. 6, 2020: Ballroom dance instructor charged in third alleged burglary of Lawrence cigar shop

Jan. 4, 2020: Ballroom dance instructor charged, released, then rearrested on suspicion of burglarizing Lawrence cigar shop 3 times


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