Teens steal designer flip flops

Published 9:47 am Monday, February 25, 2019

CASSOPOLIS – An Elkhart teen who robbed an Edwardsburg youth of a pair of Gucci flip flops last September is going to prison.

Miguel Angel Canales, 17, of Elkhart, was sentenced in Cass Circuit Court Friday after earlier pleading guilty to armed robbery. He received a prison sentence of 36 months to 20 years. He has credit for 159 days already served and must pay $1,108 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Sept. 16 on Elkhart Road and Filmore Street in Ontwa Township. Cass County Circuit Court Judge Mark Herman said that Canales and his co-defendant, Crystal Badillo, met an underage individual to buy a pair of Gucci sandals for $25. Canales pulled a gun and then left the scene.

Miguel Angel Canales

“He started disrespecting you, so you pulled a gun,” Judge Herman said. “You left, but you were stopped by police who had been called by bystanders who thought a drug deal was going down. They found the Gucci flip flops and a nine-millimeter gun without ammunition or a magazine.”

“You’re 17 years old and expelled from school in Elkhart and because of the nature of this offense, you’re going to prison,” he said. “All over $25 for a pair of flip flops and feeling disrespected. People are going to talk smack. You have to learn how to respond. If you don’t grow up and continue to get angry, you’re going to end up in a lot of courtrooms.”

Judge Herman did deviate downwards from the sentencing guidelines, which called for a minimum prison sentence of 51 months. With a 36-month prison sentence, Canales is now eligible to serve part of his sentence in boot camp.

Canales also faces possible deportation as he is in the country illegally. Defense attorney Robert Drake noted that Canales’ parents brought him to this country from Mexico when he was 2.

“His immigration status is not his fault,” he said.

Canales apologized for his actions and said he acted out of anger.

“I’m truly sorry. There’s no excuse for my behavior,” he said. “It’s all me. My girlfriend had nothing to do with it.”

Badillo, 17, of Goshen, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery from the same incident and was sentenced to three years’ probation and credit for time served, 159 days.

In other sentencings, two area residents who violated their probations are going to jail and prison.

Zachary Allen Kozlowski, 21, of Niles, violated his Swift and Sure probation from December 2017 first-degree home invasion convictions and was sentenced to five to 20 years in prison. He has credit for 337 days already served. His probation was revoked.

He was initially convicted of the two first-degree home invasion counts on Dec. 15, 2017, for an incident earlier that year in Howard Township.

He amassed five probation violations during his time in the Swift and Sure program, including selling synthetic marijuana to other program participants.

“You continue to violate, use drugs and get high,” Judge Herman said. “You’re obviously not willing to alter your behavior. You need to find something besides getting high as your priority. There’s not really anything left for us to do.”

Antoinette Marie Anson, 30, of Barron Lake Road in Niles, violated her probation from two May 2018 methamphetamine convictions and was sentenced to 365 days in jail with credit for 78 days and 62 days already served. Her probation was revoked.

She was originally placed on probation from methamphetamine convictions from an April 2016 incident in Niles and a July 2017 incident in Dowagiac.

Her probation violations include being arrested for driving while impaired, failing to report, twice testing positive for methamphetamine and failing to complete the MRT program.