Judge warns woman ‘relationships can be toxic’ after her father convinces her to steal catalytic converters

Published 12:22 pm Monday, February 7, 2022

NILES — An area woman was sentenced Monday for a crime committed with her father.

Chelsey Josephine Chapman, 26, now of Indiana and formerly of Dowagiac, pleaded guilty to larceny from a motor vehicle and was sentenced to two years’ probation, credit for 74 days served and $1,205.29 in fines, costs and restitution. She was also sentenced to credit for 74 days served for use of meth.

The incident occurred Dec. 27 in Niles Township. Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock noted that Chapman’s father got her involved in a scheme to steal catalytic converters.

“Your father roped you into this whole thing. Why did you go along with this scheme?” Judge Schrock asked her. “That’s the kind of thing you have to think about. I remember this case from the first day it hit my desk and wondering why your father threw his daughter under the bus.”

“You have a lot riding on changing your behavior,” he added. “You flip on this probation, and you can end up in prison and will say goodbye to your children. … You need to recognize that even with your own family that relationships can be toxic, and you should have nothing to do with it.”

Chapman said she plans to take her recovery and sobriety seriously and get back on track.