February 29, 2012 - Crime doesn't pay, but catching bad guys and recovering stolen property definitely has its rewards.
Mahar (click for larger version)
Just ask Oakland County Sheriff's Det. Jason Louwaert.
He got his reward when he informed an Oxford mother that he recovered the laptop computer, which contained countless photos of her children, that was allegedly stolen from her Coats Rd. home Feb. 17.
"She was pretty happy to get that back," he said. "It always feels good to close cases, but it's especially good when you recover property that has sentimental value to people. That's mostly why people make the (police) report to begin with. It's not about recovering a certain dollar amount. They report things stolen because they hope that we'll be able to do what we did in this case and that's find their property."
Sheriff's investigators located the laptop computer at a pawn shop in Hamtramck.
"People can buy a new television set, but they can't replace pictures of their kids," Louwaert said. "It always a pretty good feeling when you're able to (recover things) for people."
Childers (click for larger version)
Not only did sheriff's investigators find the laptop, they were also able to arrest the two men allegedly responsible for the theft along with other burglaries in the area.
Kyle Childers, 19, of Oxford Township, is facing one count each of first and second-degree home invasion charges. He was released from jail after posting a $50,000 bond, however, he is under house arrest and must wear an electronic tether.
Ryan Maher, 24, is facing one count of breaking and entering, and one count of first-degree home invasion. Bond was set at $15,000 and $100,000, respectively. He's currently being lodged in the county jail.
Maher is accused of burglarizing a barn on Goffar Lane Feb. 16 in Oxford Township. He allegedly stole a shotgun along with some other personal property.
Maher's father found the shotgun in his son's vehicle and turned it over to deputies, according to investigators.
After taking Maher into custody, investigators determined that he and Childers allegedly committed multiple home invasions in the Oxford area.
The two allegedly committed the home invasion involving the laptop. The mother was home with her two young children when Maher and Childers allegedly entered the residence, stole personal items including the computer and fled the scene. No one was hurt.
While in custody, sheriff's investigators said Childers admitted to committing another home invasion on Coats Rd. Jan. 25.
Investigators said Childers also told them where to find a motorcycle that's believed to have been stolen from a location in Brandon Township. Police found it off the roadway on Newman Rd. in Oxford Township.
"It was about 100 feet off the road in a swampy area," Louwaert said.
Sheriff's investigators are looking into whether or not Childers and Maher are responsible for any other thefts.
"We're looking into several other (burglaries) that they talked about," Louwaert said. "We're not sure if we're going to be able to develop criminal charges on those cases, but we believe they've been involved in several other similar incidents in Oxford, Brandon and Addison townships."
When asked what the motivation was for Maher and Childers' alleged crimes, Louwaert's answer was simple – "They're heroin addicts."
Louwaert indicated it seems like a majority of these types of crimes these days are being committed by drug users seeking funds to finance their habits as opposed to people who've been negatively impacted by the economy and are looking for money to live on.
"It's been more drug-related than economy-related by far, I think," he said. "I don't know if that makes it better or worse."
Anyone with information about any burglaries that Maher and Childers might possibly be connected with are asked to call the sheriff's Oxford substation at (248) 969-3077.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.