Man sentenced to prison for Cass County robbery spreePublished 7:50am Monday, December 16, 2013
A South Bend man was sentenced to a maximum of 17 years in prison on Friday for stealing thousands of dollars worth of power tools and firearms from a number of Cass County stores earlier this year.
According to the court, 24-year-old Derek Bishop, along with an accomplice, performed a spree of robberies throughout the county. On two different occasions, Dec. 18 and Jan. 16, Bishop and his partner broke into the Fillmore Equipment Store in Union, stealing chainsaws and leaf blowers from the premises. Bishop also broke into Trails End Sports in Vandalia on March 9, stealing a number of firearms.
“These two were doing this for a living, and not just in the spur of the moment,” said Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz. “These two should not just get a slap on the wrist, and clearly they will not as their convictions will result in them seeing the inside of a prison.”
Bishop pleaded guilty on Oct. 23 to 23 different charges connected with the robberies, including breaking and entering with intent and larceny of firearms. In addition to prison sentence, Bishop was ordered by Judge Michael Dodge to pay $13,019 in restitution to the victims.
The South Bend man was already serving a nine-year prison sentence for armed robbery, since September. The charge was a result of his involvement in the theft of a BP gas station in Berrien Springs, which occurred on March 12.
“It’s clear, under these circumstances, that you deserve a sentence at the top of the sentencing guidelines,” Dodge said.
Bishop had previously served two years in an Indiana prison for armed robbery in 2008.
Also charged on Friday:
• Brandon Mammolenti, 26, of Granger, to a maximum of 20 years in prison on charges of operating a meth lab and delivery and manufacturing of meth. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on June 5, after Mammolenti’s mother reported to the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team that she discovered a meth lab at his Niles residence. A search of the house uncovered between 75 and 100 “one pot” meth labs.
• Edward Moreno, 39, of Homestead, Fla., to 30 days in jail on charges of carrying a concealed weapon. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on July 25, after Edwardsburg police stopped Moreno for speeding. After pulling over, Moreno told the officer he had a .45 caliber pistol in his possession, a weapon he wasn’t licensed to conceal in Michigan. A subsequent search of his vehicle also uncovered an AR-15 rifle. His jail sentence is suspended, pending the payment of a $2,000 fine.
• Louis Gutierrez, 43, of Dowagaic, to a maximum of 7.5 years in prison on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Sept. 1, after a Dowagaic police officer stopped Gutierrez for having defective lights on his vehicle. The officer determined that Gutierrez was intoxicated, with a .11 percent blood alcohol level, and was also driving with a suspended driver’s license. Judge Dodge sentenced Gutierrez at the top of the state guidelines due to his four previous felony convictions.
• Shiron Shell, 32, of Niles, to 120 days in jail and two years probation on charges of child abuse. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Aug. 17, after Shell beat his daughter with a belt for not eating fast enough. In addition to jail time, Shell is forbidden contact with his daughter for the duration of his probation sentence.
• Bernard Batey, 42, of Mishawaka, to 45 days in jail and one year probation on charges of identity theft. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on March 11, in which Batey was arrested following his purchase of a game console using a stolen credit card. In addition to his jail time, Batey was also ordered to pay $347.63 in restitution.
• Joshua Clark, 18, of Dowagiac, to two years probation on charges of breaking and entering with intent. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Aug. 23, after Clark was arrested for breaking into a neighboring home, in order to steal the owner’s medicinal marijuana. Clark was already serving probation for a prior threat of terrorism conviction.
• Jennifer Brooks, 41, of Cassopolis, to one year in jail and three years probation for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Aug. 17, in which she was arrested by the Dowagiac police for driving with a .11 percent blood alcohol level. After serving 30 days in jail, Brooks has the option of serving the remainder of her sentence on SCRAM tether.
• Benjy Harmon, 41, of Cassopolis, to two years probation on charges of manufacturing marijuana. The charges stem from an incident that occurred on Oct. 2, after a Michigan State Police helicopter spotted marijuana plants growing in the back yard of Harmon’s residence. When ground units arrived at his home, officers found the man attempting to burn the plants. In addition to probation, Harmon is required to complete drug treatment with the Cass County Family Treatment Court program in lieu of a 300-day jail sentence.