2012-01-22 / Front Page

Three caught red-handed in Chesaning home invasion

Sheriff praises local citizen who called 9-1-1

CHESANING – Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel called a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, to announce the capture of three subjects during a home invasion, thanks to a citizen’s 9-1-1 call just after 2:30 Sunday morning, Jan. 15. The three subjects were caught in the act of removing property from a home at Meadowwood Village, in Chesaning.

During the arraignment, the subjects reportedly claimed they were not in possession of firearms. “We beg to differ,” the Sheriff stated. The felony firearm charge is key, especially since Perkins is a convicted felon who sought to arm himself with a shotgun during the incident. Federspiel referred to the suspects as “very dangerous individuals.”

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Chesaning residents Joshua Perkins, 31; Chadrick Lovato, 34; and Melissa Whelton, 34; who were taken into custody. The three were arraigned at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17, on multiple charges of home invasion, LFA (larceny from an automobile), conspiracy and felony firearm. According to Sheriff Federspiel, Perkins was recently released from prison. Lovato also has a police record. Whelton had no prior record.

“We were able to recover quite a bit,” he stated; listing money, jewelry, weapons, and electronics among the numerous items recovered. Some items have already been returned to the victims.

Sheriff’s detectives are investigating other crimes in Chesaning and the surrounding area, determining which are directly tied to these subjects. According to Sheriff Federspiel, over a seven to 10 day period just before Christmas, Chesaning residents reported 14 vehicle larcenies and three stolen vehicles. Several other home invasions have also been reported over the past year.

“We want to focus on these three before we lock them up,” the Sheriff stated.

Among those appearing at the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department news conference were the residents of the home where the three suspects had been apprehended. David and Jenna Knoblauch had been out of town when the incident occurred. They don’t know who called 9- 1-1 to report suspicious activity at their home, but they are very grateful for it.

Two of the subjects arrested, Whelton and Lovato, lived next door to the victims. The Knoblauchs said they now realize their home had been watched to determine their schedule. “We’re like clockwork. They looked to make sure we weren’t home. It sounds like people even called to make sure we weren’t home,” Jenna told news reporters.

When the Knoblauchs arrived at home after the incident, they were distraught by what they found. Jenna’s clothes had been pulled out all over. The medicine cabinet had been emptied.

“They took change from the kids,” Jenna added with disbelief.

A large knife that had been stored in the kitchen was found upstairs in a bedroom. Knoblauchs concluded their family would have been in mortal danger had they been home when the invasion occurred.

“Right now we are hurting really bad,” David stated talking about their financial situation. He added, “The VA has been terrible. They don’t want to help me. It’s heart-wrecking to know. I’m a veteran.” David’s prescription medication was among the items stolen. He can’t get it replaced and he can’t afford to replace it.

Jenna said, “I’m nervous to go back there. We haven’t taken our kids there at all. We are trying to keep as much information from them as we can. But they know when something’s wrong.”

According to David, they have lived in Chesaning about three years, and only recently moved into Meadowwood Village. “We love the Chesaning community,” he added.

Jenna said, “We thank God that neighbor was up and awake.” She expressed sincere appreciation for the unidentified neighbor who took the time to call 9-1-1 at 2:30 a.m., when they saw something suspicious.

Sheriff Federspiel echoed those sentiments stating, “I’m very pleased with the results. I can’t thank the individual enough who called at 2:30 in the morning. Thankfully, they made that call.”

The Citizen also contacted Chesaning Police Chief Stacey Wilburn, who said, “I applaud the neighbor for making the 9-1-1 call.” She explained that it was because of that call that Saginaw County was able to apprehend the subjects.

“The county and the village, we do work well together,” Chief Wilburn commented.

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