By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell Jr. pronounced sentence on Charles Craig, 20, of Van Buren Township for the Dec. 29 break-in into Tin Pan Saloon in Sumpter Township.
At a May 2 sentencing, Judge Ewell sentenced Craig to 30 days in jail, with five days credit for time served; three months on a tether; and three years of probation.
On April 10, Craig pled guilty to a charge of Breaking and Entering with Intent, a 10-year felony, and Larceny from a Building, a four-year felony.
At the May 2 sentencing, Craig’s new attorney Angela Peterson asked if a hearing for a probation violation was going to be included. Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Chasity Graham told her that charge had already been dismissed.
At the time of Craig’s arrest he was on probation from Belleville for a previous charge in which the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) was offered.
HYTA is a state law that allows a judge to place a youth between the ages of 17 and 20, who is alleged to have committed a crime and who has pleaded guilty to that crime, to be placed in prison or on probation without a conviction to avoid a criminal record.
This action protects the privacy of the offender while on trainee status. If the youth successfully completes the program, there is no criminal record. Imprisonment or probation cannot exceed three years.
Judge Ewell told Craig, “Second chance — last chance.”
He tested Craig, asking if he knew what would happen if he should violate this probation.
Craig said he “would go to boot camp or prison.” Judge Ewell corrected him, “Boot camp or jail,” and asked Craig if there was anything he wanted to say before he was sentenced. Craig had nothing to say.
Judge Ewell pronounced sentence and also advised Craig to continue his education and to try to maintain 30 hours of employment per week. Court costs of $206 must also be paid.
Tin Pan Saloon owner Steve Kovach did not seek restitution.
According to the police report, on Dec. 29, Sumpter Township Police Sgt. Jim Cayce was on random patrol on Willis Road in the early morning hours and had just passed Sumpter Road when he heard from dispatch that an alarm had been activated at Tin Pan.
In just 18 seconds he arrived on the scene and saw that the side door had been penetrated. He was joined by Sgt. Chris McGlynn and they searched the business.
They found Craig wedged between a Budweiser display wagon and the wall. Craig was wearing a bullet-proof vest and had a backpack containing a crowbar and one of Tin Pan’s money drawers.
He was a former Tin Pan employee.
Afteer he was arrested, police said Craig wrote a detailed confession on the break-in. Later, Craig pled not-guilty to the charge and demanded a jury trial.
A jury trial had been scheduled for April 10, but on that date Craig, instead, pled guilty to the charges.
By Diane Madigan