A Howard City man was arrested last week for stealing from an 84-year-old Reynolds Township woman.
According to Howard City Police Chief Steven DeWitt, Roman Lewis Vanderniet, 26, of Howard City, his girlfriend, and their baby stopped unexpectedly at the elderly woman’s house (she is an acquaintance) to visit. After they left, she found her purse was open, and cash was missing, along with a large amount of prescription painkillers from the home.
On the evening of February 16, they stopped by again. The victim reported that Vanderniet asked if he could lay the baby on the victim’s bed to rest. He then entered her room and closed the door, while his girlfriend engaged her in conversation in the living room.
When the elderly woman went to her bedroom to check Vanderniet, she found him standing in her closet. After they left, she found her closet had been gone through, more cash had been stolen from her purse, and a birthday card with cash was missing. She also found the window in her bedroom unlocked, and fresh footprints in the snow outside of the window.
When police located Vanderniet in the early morning hours of February 17, he admitted to taking some money from the victim and unlocking the bedroom window with the intention of returning.
He was arrested and lodged in Montcalm County Jail. Vanderniet was charged with larceny from a building, a four-year felony and/or $5,000 in fines. He was arraigned on February 17 and released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
Chief DeWitt reminds citizens to beware of who you let into your home, and not to keep prescription pills in your bathroom or medicine cabinet where they are easily accessible to other who use the room.
“This is a very common method of theft of prescription medication,” said DeWitt.