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Tent-dweller questioned about thefts



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September 18, 2013 - Oakland County Sheriff's investigators are looking into whether a 28-year-old homeless man who was living in a tent behind the Parkhurst mobile home park is connected to a string of robberies in Oxford Township.

Michael Dwaine Welch is currently lodged in the Oakland County Jail after being arrested last week on a warrant stemming from a probation violation connected to an assault conviction. His last known address was in Clarkston.

Sheriff's deputies made contact with Welch when they were called to the mobile home park because he was allegedly looking through vehicle windows. When he was arrested on the outstanding warrant, items were found on both Welch and at his campsite.

"There was some jewelry. There was a lot of computer equipment, charging cords, that type of thing," said Sheriff's Detective Jason Louwaert. There was also some silverware.

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Louwaert is investigating whether or not Welch had any involvement in the approximately 10 larcenies from vehicles that have occurred between Parkhurst and the Red Barn subdivision in the last three to four weeks or in a home invasion in the Red Barn subdivision.

Louwaert said the usual things are being stolen from the vehicles such as small electronic devices and cash.

Welch had been living in a tent in the wooded area to the west of Parkhurst for about three to four weeks, the same time frame as the thefts, according to Louwaert.

"At this point, we haven't tied him directly to any larcenies from vehicles or home invasions," Louwaert said. "We've gotten information that he's been seen prowling around cars, but lots of people have been seen prowling around cars in that neighborhood. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if he's not the only one doing it."

None of the property found on Welch or at his campsite is from any of the local thefts. "The property doesn't match anything that we have listed as stolen from any vehicles or homes in the area," Louwaert said. "We haven't been able to tie it to any of our reports."

Welch told sheriff's investigators that he stole the items from a local business, according to Louwaert.

The sheriff's department continues to investigate this matter. Anyone with information is asked to please call the 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.
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