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Accused burglar of Steve Jobs' home pleads no contest

The man charged with burglarizing the home of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs – taking with him iPods, iPads, $50,000 in jewelry and Jobs’ wallet – entered a no contest plea on Wednesday.

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery said on Friday that Kariem McFarlin, 35, of Alameda now stands convicted of eight counts of residential burglary and one count of possessing stolen property. He could face up to seven years and eight months in prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 17.

"The Steve Jobs part got the attention of the media," Flattery said on Wednesday. "But from our standpoint, we treated it like any other burglary."

Although a no contest plea is not technically a guilty plea, it means that McFarlin will not contest the charges against him. Unlike a guilty plea, a no contest plea cannot be held against the convicted person in a civil lawsuit. 

Prosecutors said that from March 2011 -- and possibly earlier -- to July, McFarlin targeted homes in affluent Bay Area neighborhoods that appeared empty while under construction or being remodeled.

Jobs' home on Waverly Street was burglarized on July 17. Investigators tracked him down through the stolen devices. He had confessed upon his arrest, telling police that he was sorry and wanted to write a letter of apology to the Jobs family. He told authorities that he stole because he was desperate for money.

"He wrote a letter to Mrs. Jobs telling her he was sorry," McFarlin's defense attorney James Kellenberger told NBC Bay Area. "He wished her well and didn't mean to cause her difficulties. He took responsibility for his actions."

Kellenberger said that before McFarlin went into the Jobs home on July 17, he had no idea who he was robbing. But McFarlin quickly discovered where he was.

"When he left, he had Steve Jobs driver’s license and his wallet," Kellenberger said. Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011.

While the Jobs home was by far the most high-profile, prosecutors said McFarlin admitted breaking into two homes in Marin County, four homes in San Francisco County and one home in Alameda County. He also admitted keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars of property from those burglaries at his home and storage locker in Alameda. Detectives from the regional REACT force pieced all the burglaries together, and Flattery said prosecutors from four counties worked together on hammering out a plea arrangement.

McFarlin’s stolen haul included computers, jewelry, furniture and a solid silver bar.

Jobs was known for a modest personal life and had lived in the residential neighborhood. Authorities suspect his seven-bedroom house was targeted because it was undergoing renovation and may have appeared less secure. They believe the house was unoccupied at the time of the burglary. 

McFarlin has been in custody for lack of $500,000 bail. He is a former San Jose State University student who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2004.