Chief David Elwell at Columbia Township Police headquarters

A 19 year old from Blackman Township is in jail charged in connection with thefts that occurred primarily at Clark Lake on Thursday, September 17th.  As originally reported on this website, the suspect was allegedly “car-hopping” or “shed-hopping”, apparently going for whatever could easily be taken from unlocked cars or structures. At least eight calls came into the police department starting early in the morning.  The thefts occurred at the east end of Clark Lake near Ocean Beach Road.

Trystin Paul-William Brown was charged on Friday with “breaking and entering a building with intent” (10 year felony), “stolen property-receiving and concealing $1000 or more but less than $20,000” (5  year felony), “larceny in a building” (4 year felony) and “larceny less than $200” (a 93 day misdemeanor).

Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell said the first call to police came early on Thursday morning, and other residents reported items missing throughout the day.  Chief Elwell describes how the investigation began:  “At approximately 3:25 A.M. on September 17, 2015, a Clark Lake resident on Shady Lane got into his vehicle to leave for work, and immediately discovered that his briefcase was missing from his vehicle. He then drove a short distance and noted a suspicious vehicle along the roadway, and stopped to look at it. He memorized the license plate number, and observed a number of tools and other items in the vehicle.”

Having the license plate number led the investigators to a Blackman township address, and police kept an eye on the residence.  Then a serendipitous moment occurred.  A Columbia Township officer in driving on Parnall Road near Morrill Road spotted the very vehicle they were looking for.  The officer followed the vehicle to an address in Walnut Ridge and Brown was taken into temporary custody. He was interviewed and taken to the Jackson County Jail.

Chief Elwell said the investigation led to the “recovery of a large amount of stolen property from an address in Leoni Township.”  Then at a second location, this one in Blackman Township, more “stolen property was recovered, including outdoor power equipment.”

Columbia Township Police are working with other agencies to find the rightful owners of the property, “beyond what was stolen from Clark Lake residents on September 17,” notes the Chief.