A Kent County Circuit Court judge went against the recommendation of the probation department and gave a former Kent County Sheriff Deputy jail time for stealing $1,200 from a Solon Township man.
Judge George Buth sentenced Keith Kazelskis, 36, of Cedar Springs, to 180 days in the Kent County jail, 60 months probation, $1,200 in restitution, $68 in state fees, $60 in crime victim rights fees, and $350 in court costs. He was sentenced September 2 in Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court.
Kazelskis, a 12-year veteran of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, pled guilty July 17 to a charge of larceny over $1,000 but under $20,000. According to police, Kazelskis responded to the residence of 71-year-old Daniel Elve, of Solon Township, in December 2008 on a suspicious situation. He befriended the elderly gentleman, who said kids had been tampering with his residence. Kazelskis visited several times with the victim after that, while off duty. It was during one of those off duty visits that Kazelskis stole a large amount of money from the victim’s residence. The victim discovered the money missing on June 24, and alerted police, who started a criminal investigation. The money was later found in a box in a dryer at Kazelskis’ home.
Kazelskis reportedly has been having trouble making his mortgage payments, and currently has his house up for sale.
The Grand Rapids Press reported that Undersheriff John Hess confirmed there were two other incidents that had been looked into and resolved, but said he was unable to elaborate due to the Garrity Rule, which allows police to make self-incriminating statements without fear of prosecution as a result of those statements.