Nine break-ins in three days results in five-year sentencePublished 11:18am Friday, June 28, 2013
CASSOPOLIS — A 23-year-old Elkhart man robbed nine homes in three days across several communities, including Niles, Dowagiac and Cassopolis, in September 2012.
To make matters worse, Matthew Eby recruited his 15-year-old brother to help in the crime spree.
On Friday in Cass County Circuit Court, Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Eby to a minimum of five years in the Michigan Department of Corrections for his crimes, while ordering him to pay more than $26,000 in restitution.
“This cannot be tolerated at all in any way, shape or form,” said Assistant Prosecutor Kirk Metzger prior to Eby’s sentencing. “He needs to be removed immediately from this community.”
Eby and his juvenile brother’s break-in spree began Sept. 3 when they invaded homes on Yankee Street in Niles and on Anderson Road in Dowagiac.
The following day they broke into four more homes, three in Dowagiac and one in Cassopolis. They then hit three homes in White Pigeon, Jones and Union on Sept. 5.
Dodge said the Ebys primarily stole money, jewelry and guns. Restitution amounts from the victims ranged from $1,000 to $11,378.
One of the victims said the Ebys stole priceless family heirlooms that can never be replaced.
“It not only involves the financial loss, but… you can see psychological damage has been done by invading the security and privacy of these people’s homes,” Dodge said.
Eby’s attorney, James Miller, said the break-ins were related to his client’s addiction to controlled substances. Miller also said Eby is AWOL from the U.S. Army.
Eby pleaded guilty May 17 to 13 felony charges stemming from the break-ins, including the most serious charge of home invasion in the first degree, a 20-year felony.
Eby asked for forgiveness from the victims prior to sentencing. He received credit for 117 days served.