By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
Charles Craig, 20, of Van Buren Township gave up his right to a jury trial on April 10 in return for accepting a plea agreement offered by Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Chastity Ann Graham.
Craig pled guilty to a 10-year felony charge of Breaking and Entering with Intent and a 4-year felony of Larceny from a Building.
Craig said on Dec. 29, 2012 he broke into the Tin Pan Saloon on Sumpter Road through the side door, broke into the office, took a cash drawer and attempted to leave the building with it.
As previously reported in the Independent, Sgt. Jim Cayce from Sumpter Police Department was on random patrol on Willis Road 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.
Judge Edward Ewell, Jr. will sentence Craig on May 2 under a HYTA status.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections website, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (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.
Craig said he is currently not working and studying for a bachelor’s degree.
Judge Edward Ewell told Craig if he violates probation he will go to boot camp.
As outlined by Judge Ewell the reduced sentence will likely include 30 days in jail, three months on a tether, 30 days Alternate Workforce through the Sheriff’s Department, and probation for two years.
Steve Kovach, owner of Tin Pan, was in the courtroom and did not request restitution.
Because a jury trial was set for April 10, Sumpter Township police officers — Detective John Toth, Sgt. Cayce and Sgt. McGlynn — were present in court. Several of Craig’s family members also were in the courtroom.
At the April 10 proceedings a charge of violating probation was also read into the record. Craig was under HYTA for this other crime which took place in Belleville and the records were sealed.
By Diane Madigan