Md. hockey coach sentenced for ice rink thievery, blames drug addiction for crime spree
ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – A well-respected hockey coach, who stole from strangers, colleagues and his own players, will spend the next 14 months in a jail cell.
On Tuesday, Barry Fig, 36, of Rockville, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to a variety of drug and theft charges. As part of his plea bargain, Fig admitted to stealing wallets from locker rooms at five ice rinks across Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's counties between November 2012 and March 2013. In total, Fig obtained around $800 in cash, and more than $13,000 in fraudulent credit card purchases.
"It has been a disaster for a lot of people," Fig's defense attorney said at sentencing. "He understands the gravity of what he has done, and I think he will put his heart and soul into making things right."
Fig's defense attorney also painted his client as a once-beloved member of the tight-knit Washington, D.C. hockey community. In many ways, that stature kept his crime spree hidden for so long.
"Every parent loved to have their kid coached by Barry," Fig's defense attorney remarked. "When this case first broke ... I believe everyone, anyone who knew Barry Fig was just shocked."
Fig, a graduate of Winston Churchill High School, claimed a longstanding drug addiction to Adderall spurred his crime spree. In college, a doctor prescribed the stimulant to help Fig better concentrate on his schoolwork. However, over time, Fig required higher dosages, started to visit multiple doctors, faked lost prescriptions, and ultimately led a life riddled with deception.
"I'm ashamed and disgusted by my behavior. I have no one to blame but myself," Fig stated in court. "Not a day goes by where I don't think about the frustration, heartache and pain I caused."
Using a baseball cap as a disguise, Fig routinely snuck into locker rooms at ice arenas from Ballston to Bethesda while teams, many he knew well, conducted evening practice. Fig would rifle through lockers and equipment bags, looking for cash and credit cards. Prosecutors say the 36-year-old ripped off around 20 individuals, stores and banks over a five-month period.
"I'm on a relentless path to improve myself," Fig, who says he's read around 200 books on self-improvement, added in court. "I'm ready to do the right thing. I'm ready to be a positive member of the community."
Judge Paul Weinstein sentenced Fig to 14 months in jail, with 40 years suspended. Upon his release, Fig will be on probation for five years, at the end of which, he must make full restitution to his nearly two dozen victims. The 36-year-old is also to submit to drug testing, mental health counseling and stay away from the five ice rinks he stole from: Wheaton Ice Arena in Wheaton, Cabin John Ice Rink in Bethesda, the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, SkateQuest Ice Rink in Reston, and Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston.
"He's being held accountable and he's apologized," Montgomery County State's Attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff said. "He realizes he had a drug problem and he's working his way through that, and in his words, it was a 'nightmare.'"