CADILLAC — A 35-year-old Manton man is awaiting sentencing after he recently pleaded no contest to breaking and entering and larceny charges and guilty to receiving and concealing stolen property charges in 28th Circuit Court.
Jeremy Leroy Schoenmaker pleaded no contest to breaking and entering a building with intent, the Manton Mini Mart, and larceny of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 for stealing cash and store inventory from the Manton Mini Mart on or about March 26 in Manton. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as one at sentencing. It also permits the court to determine guilt from the review of the police report.
As part of the plea, a habitual offender fourth offense notice was dismissed which carried a penalty of up to life in prison. After the plea, Schoenmaker faces up to 10 years in prison and fines as high as $10,000 or three times the value of items or property stolen.
He also recently pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving and concealing firearms, three stolen firearms and stolen ammunition, for his connection with an incident on or about Sept. 7 in Cadillac. As part of the plea, a habitual offender fourth offense was dropped to a habitual offender second offense, which carries a penalty of 1.5 times the maximum sentence. In this case, Schoenmaker faces up to 15 years in prison at sentencing.
Once sentenced, which should occur within the next month, Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore said it will put an end to the three felony cases against Schoenmaker spanning two counties, Wexford and Missaukee.
Elmore said on March 26 Schoenmaker broke into the Manton Mini Mart causing damage and stealing nearly $3,000 in money and items including alcohol, cigarettes and a pile of $2 bills collected over the years. He eventually was charged with breaking and entering and larceny for his connection in the case.
On Aug. 31, Schoenmaker posted the $50,000 bond and walked out of the Wexford County Jail, but he couldn’t stay out of trouble, according to Elmore. On Sept. 4, Schoenmaker walked into Ebels Country Store in Falmouth and stole a firearm in the middle of the day, Elmore said. He returned on Sept. 7 and stole two more firearms and ammunition, Elmore said.
From the high-quality surveillance video at the Falmouth store, Elmore said Schoenmaker was easily identified. According to the investigation, Elmore said Schoenmaker then brought the unregistered firearms and ammunition, worth about $2,000, to Cadillac and sold them for $250 and 5 grams of methamphetamine.
As a result of the theft from the Missaukee County store, Schoenmaker was charged with first-degree retail fraud, felon in possession of a firearm and felon in possession of ammunition. In January, due to new Missaukee County Prosecutor David Den Houten having a conflict of interest, Elmore said the Michigan Attorney General’s Office appointed him as special prosecutor in that case.
Once on as the special prosecutor, Elmore said he amended the original charges to also include a second count of first-degree retail fraud and felon in possession of a firearm. On Jan. 18, Schoenmaker pleaded no contest to all five charges stemming from the September incidents in Missaukee County. As part of the pretrial agreement, Elmore said he agreed to only seek a habitual offender second offense rather than a fourth offense. As a result, Schoenmaker faces up to 7.5 years in prison at sentencing.
Using the Missaukee County investigation, Elmore said he charged the Manton man with the two receiving and concealing offenses.
“As a repeat felony offender, Mr. Schoenmaker found himself a top priority case. An aggressive and tactical approach to law enforcement may make defendants and defense counsel feel it’s personal,‘ Elmore said. “For law enforcement, it is not personal. We have a mission. That mission is to justly and legally prosecute cases in our community. For victims, however, I suspect it is personal. Those who commit a crime do so knowing of the possible consequences. Defendants always have the right to a trial and due process.‘
The $50,000 cash or surety bonds issued in both Wexford County cases were remanded and Schoenmaker is awaiting sentencing. When he is sentenced, the two Wexford County cases, as well as the Missaukee County cases, will be served concurrently.