Judge hammers ‘stone-cold thief’Published 1:28pm Friday, August 3, 2012
CASSOPOLIS — Dennis Arthur Dilts Jr., had never been to prison before, despite having nine theft-related convictions over the past four years.
It’s a fact that caught Cass County Circuit Court Judge Michael Dodge by surprise.
“I am shocked that you have been fortunate enough with nine felony convictions … to never have been sentenced to prison,” said Dodge during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
Dodge made sure the 31-year-old Dowagiac man wouldn’t dodge prison this time, sentencing him to six years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for being in possession of two chainsaws stolen from a Cassopolis business in June.
Dodge said he went towards the high end of the sentence guidelines (29 to 85 months) due to Dilts’ past criminal record and the nature of the offenses.
“You have been a blight on business people who have suffered tremendously of your possession of stolen property or thefts of these properties,” Dodge said.
On Nov. 4, 2011, police responding to a break-in at Cass Outdoor Power Equipment in Cassopolis discovered four chainsaws valued at more than $1,000 were stolen.
Three days later, police, acting on a tip, found Dilts in possession of two of those chainsaws. Dilts explained to police an individual never specifically identified had given the chainsaws to him to sell.
It is the latest in a long string of criminal convictions for Dilts, who was twice convicted of possessing stolen property in 2008. Dilts did jail time for a home invasion in 2009, 270 days in jail for attempting to possess stolen property in 2010 and six months in jail for a home invasion in 2011.
“He is a stone-cold thief,” said Prosecutor Victor Fitz. “He needs to get older, slower and get honest, and until that happens he needs to be out of circulation.”
Dilts told the court his criminal activity is the result of a prescription drug habit that began five years ago.
He received credit for 270 days served.