Archived Story

Niles woman reports suspicious ‘home inspector’

Published 5:50pm Monday, December 5, 2011

By KATIE ROHMAN and CRAIG HAUPERT

A Niles woman has reported receiving a visit from a suspicious man posing as a Cass County home inspector this morning.

Kim Welling, who lives at 1219 Carberry Rd. with her husband, Jeremey, and three children, said she was home alone at about 8:30 a.m. when a man knocked on a sliding glass door at the back of her house.

She described the man as a white male, medium build and average height, early to mid-40s, with dirty blond hair and wearing a flannel shirt and blue jeans. He claimed to be with the “Cass County Home Inspection Department” and said he needed to check her house. This was a red flag to Welling.

“I know of the home inspector,” she said, and that person is with Howard Township, not Cass County, and Howard Township services are closed Mondays.

Welling asked for identification, and the man said he would go to his truck to get it. Meanwhile, Welling said loudly, “Honey, there’s a man at the door you need to speak to,” so the visitor would think someone else is home.

The man got into his truck — a white, newer, extended cab Ford F-150 with side rails — and left. Welling was not able to read the license plate number.

“He didn’t grab me. He didn’t try to grab me,” Welling said. “I wouldn’t classify it as an attempted abduction. He didn’t try to take me.”

Welling said she is concerned because she thought she lives in a safe neighborhood. Her home, located at the dead end of Carberry Road, is one of the smallest in the area. She has lived there more than four years.

“No robberies. No car invasions,” she said. “We never, ever have had a problem.

“Why me? Why my house? Did he see me take my kids to school?”

Welling said she immediately called the Michigan State Police Niles Post, who spoke with her but told her she did not need to come to the Law Enforcement Complex to file a report. The Niles Post dispatch said there were no reports filed with them today from 1219 Carberry Rd. The Cass County Sheriff’s Department also did not receive any reports from the address.

Although Welling’s case does not necessarily classify as an abduction attempt, there are similarities in her description of her visitor and that of a man who allegedly tried to abduct a 26-year-old woman in Dowagiac Nov. 29. That man was described as white, approximately 40 years old, 6 feet tall, and had “dirty” blond hair and was wearing a blue, flannel-type shirt.

Carberry Road is also the location of the double-homicide of John and Carolyn Tarwacki on Feb. 5, 2010. They were found dead at their home at 979 Carberry Rd. The case is unsolved, and no arrests have been made.

Welling said her home is located on the other end of Carberry from where the Tarwacki homicides took place.

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