CADILLAC — Two men recently pleaded guilty for crimes related to a string of break-ins occurring in Wexford, Missaukee and Osceola counties.
Daniel Bell, of McBain, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and three added counts of receiving and concealing stolen property of a value between $1,000 and $20,000. The prosecution agreed to dismiss a charge of running a criminal enterprise.
Daniel Burchett, of Reed City, pleaded guilty via teleconference from an Ionia prison to four counts of receiving and concealing stolen property. The prosecution agreed to dismiss a charge of running a criminal enterprise, tampering with evidence, and a habitual offender sentencing enhancement.
Between Nov. 17 and Dec. 3, 2018, there were four break-ins into homes and buildings on Hibma Road in Osceola County, said Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore. A long list of items, including guns, hunting gear, ammunition, knives, electronics, tools, and much more were stolen, Elmore said.
Then, on Dec. 8, Missaukee County sheriff’s deputies responded to a home in Richland Township in which a neighbor reported a break-in in progress. This led to deputies pursuing a silver Ford Fusion. Bell was the driver and Burchett was the passenger, Elmore said.
Bell led the deputies on a high-speed chase from Missaukee and into Wexford County. At one point in the chase, the car failed to make a turn and drove into a ditch, but it kept going as it was losing parts going down the road, Elmore said. Bell then lost control of the car as he attempted to use the M-42 exit ramp off US 131. The car slid off the road, struck a traffic sign, and rolled multiple times. As deputies pulled up, Bell was attempting to crawl from the vehicle and Burchett fled on foot.
“Through professional cooperation between the three sheriff departments, the pieces came together,‘ Elmore said. “The pieces tied Bell and Burchett to the break-ins. The pieces also led them to a home on Independence Avenue at which Bell and Burchett had been concealing the stolen merchandise. While Burchett was on the run, detectives also learned that efforts had been taken to begin to move several of the items from that home to a building at Pioneer Apartment on Mackinac Trail.‘
Burchett, who was already on parole, was apprehended by Wexford County sheriff’s deputies on Jan. 9.
“We originally charged defendants Bell and Burchett with operating a criminal enterprise,‘ Elmore said. “As authorities in Osceola and Missaukee resolved their cases, we continued to process our cases. The convictions of Burchett and Bell this and last week wrap up this string of crimes by these two defendants based out of Wexford County.‘
Bell and Burchett face up to five years in prison at sentencing but Elmore noted this is just in Wexford County.