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Tag Archive | "thefts"

DNR arrests suspects in northern Lower Peninsula veneer log thefts


Investigation continues into thefts in Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties

Timber: One of the felled maple trees cut down with the bottom section removed. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Timber: One of the felled maple trees cut down with the bottom section removed. Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Cut: A close view of one of the maple tree cuttings.

Cut: A close view of one of the maple tree cuttings.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are continuing to investigate the theft of sugar maple logs from public state-managed lands in three northern Lower Peninsula counties.

Three males in their mid-20s, one each from – Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties – have been arrested and charged with 1-year misdemeanors or 5-year felonies for removal of forest products. Names are being withheld pending arraignments.

Prosecutors in Cheboygan and Charlevoix counties issued the arrest warrants. Officers expect more charges to be authorized as the investigation moves forward.

Late last year, conservation officers began receiving public complaints about large sugar maple trees being cut on state forestland. Only the thickest part of the trees—the lowest 8-12 feet—was taken most often.

In many cases, there were several valuable saw logs left on the site to rot in the woods. More than 100 logs were allegedly stolen.

“This is a clear case of thieves stealing what belongs to all of Michigan’s citizens,” said Sgt. Greg Drogowski of the Gaylord District office. “An analogy to the wasted timber left in the woods is that of a poacher illegally killing a deer and taking only the back straps (tenderloins).”

Investigators developed several suspects with the help of citizens and members of the timber industry. These suspects allegedly continued to steal veneer maple logs from state land. The logs were sold to various sawmills.

“Multiple sites were discovered and the total value of stolen timber is tens of thousands of dollars, with more sites being discovered,” Drogowski said.

Samples of the logs sold to mills were recovered as evidence. DNR foresters were able to help match these logs ato trees at the cutting sites.

With other evidence, witnesses and statements, officers were able to obtain the felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants.

Now that spring has arrived, more people are getting out into the woods. Conservation officers encourage citizens to report any locations where trees have been cut on state-managed land, within close proximity to trails and roads, most often with only the lower portion of the trees removed.

To report information on this case, contact Lt. James Gorno at 989-732-3541 or call the Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800. Those providing tips may remain anonymous. The RAP line offers rewards to tipsters. Amounts vary depending on the incident being investigated and the value of the information provided.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

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Thieves break into autos, garages in city

A resident’s call led Cedar Springs Police to investigate numerous thefts from unlocked vehicles and garages this week.
According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, police received a call early Monday morning, at 3:08 a.m., from a person who reported that he saw people trying to gain entry into a neighbor’s garage. Officer Paul Feutz arrived in the area along with a back-up patrol unit from the City of Rockford.  Officers saw some of the suspects fleeing and eventually detained some of those who were involved.
All involved suspects were young adults.  One suspect, who had some of the stolen property in the truck of his car, was from Coral, Michigan. The others had local Cedar Springs addresses.
Parent said these young men covered a good portion of the city looking for vehicles that were not locked and/or attempted to enter into garages that were open. Items recovered consisted of Ipods, a camera, GPS units, a spotting scope, sunglasses, and lap-top computer.  Some of the victims were identified that same morning and others have come into the police department to report items being stolen from their vehicles.  “If you feel you were a victim with property stolen from your vehicle, we encourage you to call or come into the police department,” said Parent.
He said that additional work needs to be done before the investigation will be presented to the prosecutor for charges.
“We remind residents not to leave valuables in an unlocked vehicle,” cautioned Parent. “Because we have a safe community, we often become far too comfortable leaving items inside of a vehicle or leaving entry doors to a garage unlocked. In this case, one night of roaming thieves has caused a considerable amount of work for the police and affected many residents.”

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Man uses baby as cover in thefts

Roman Lewis Vanderniet

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.

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