American University professor sentenced to prison for burglary, ID theft


Correction: In a previous version of this article, WTOP stated that David Pitts admitted to setting fires in connection with a plea agreement on charges of second degree burglary and first degree identity theft.  Professor Pitts denied all arson allegations.

WASHINGTON — A former American University professor has been sentenced to two years in prison, however, Judge Zoe Bush agreed to suspend all but one year and a day of his sentence.

Professor David Pitts pleaded guilty to burglary and identity theft in January as part of a plea deal.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Washington Post, Pitts was arrested in September after he lit several fires in the New Mexico Avenue area of D.C.  and entered an office building trying to steal prescription medications, controlled substances, and prescription pads.

Police would later find over 5,300 prescription pills and blank prescription pads, among other items, in his apartment.

Judge Bush acknowledged that Pitts has longstanding mental health and substance abuse issues. His husband, in an interview with ABC7 outside D.C. Superior Court, agreed.

“He’s a good person and I look forward to the day when he can get his life back together,” Pitts’ husband, who did not want to provide his name, said.

However, the judge said Pitts needed to spend time in prison for the danger he provoked by setting the  fires.

“I owe my people an apology,” Pitts said of the university, its students, and his husband, during the sentencing. “I ask for their forgiveness and the opportunity to earn their trust.”

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