Pokagon Township man addresses robberPublished 8:28am Monday, July 28, 2014
Michael Van Arkle has been a victim of theft four times in his life.
Inheriting his great uncle’s farm in Pokagon Township, which has been in the family for 85 years, Van Arkle’s family dealt with several break-ins over the years, which have on edge, even in the comfort of their home.
“As for my wife, it’s even harder on her,” he said. “She used to pull up to the barn, sit in the driveway, and think about the fun, laughter and stories my uncle told. But now she can’t do that anymore.”
Van Arkle had a chance to confront the man responsible for the most recent intrusion in his family’s farm on Friday.
Cass County Judge Michael Dodge sentenced Donald Leroy Karn Jr., 56, of Eau Claire, to four years in prison, on charges of breaking and entering with intent and for resisting arrest. He appeared in court prior on June 23, where he pleaded guilty to the charges.
According to the court, the break-in occurred on April 12 at the property, which is located on Frost Street.
“The victim found you in his pole barn standing over a pile of property that you attempted to steal when you took off,” Dodge said. “The police were called, and you fled from them as well. You were apprehended a short time later.”
Karn was charged as a habitual offender by the county, which increased the guidelines the judge was permitted to sentence the Eau Claire man under. Dodge elected to sentence him toward the higher end of these guidelines, due to his previous criminal behavior.
“You have a lengthy prior record,” Dodge said. “Twelve previous felonies and 10 previous misdemeanors convictions.”
Prosecutor Victor Fitz also pointed out these actions in his statement to the judge, saying his record contained convictions for shoplifting, assault and other breaking and entering incidents.
“[Karn’s] is a frequent flyer of our system, going back to the 1970s, from one end of the country to another,” Fitz said. “The public needs to be protected from this habitual miscreant.”
When asked to comment about his actions, Karn apologized to the court and Van Arkle for what happened back in April.
“I had been drinking. I have a bad alcohol problem,” he said. “Every time I’ve gotten in trouble it’s been because of alcohol.”
An evidentiary hearing concerning restitution for the break-in will be held on a later date. He was given 104 days credit for time already served.
Also sentenced Friday were:
• Keith Edward Leffler, 33, of Decatur, to three years of probation for operating while intoxicated.
• Nicholas Robert Ames, 29, to 150 days in jail for failure to register as a sex offender.
• Adam Lee McCavitt, 25, of Elkhart, to three years of probation for meth related charges.
• Redden Todd, 43, of Cassopolis, to two years of probation and 101 days in jail for meth related charges.
• Angela Jean Parquette, to one year of probation for possession of an analog substance.
• James Michael O’Donnell, 35, two years of probation for possession of meth and marijuana.
• Ashley Leann Fritsche, of Edwardsburg, to two years of probation for meth related charges.