Niles man gets probation for Niles Township break-in

Published 1:48 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

NILES — A Niles man was sentenced to probation Monday in Berrien County Trial Court for breaking into what he thought was an abandoned building to steal two mattresses for his children.

Jonathon Earl Lowery, 45, of Niles, pleaded guilty to attempted breaking and entering a building with intent to commit larceny and was sentenced to two years probation, credit for two days served, 80 hours of community service and $518 in fines and costs. The incident occurred Sept. 6 in Niles Township.

“This was a crime of convenience and one of desperation,” defense attorney Daniel French said. “His daughters had survived a house fire and he took mattresses from what he thought was an abandoned house,” he said.

“I made a mistake,” Lowery said. “I didn’t have permission to go in. I know you don’t go where you don’t belong.”

Judge Smith reiterated that point.

“Even though a house is empty doesn’t make it your property,” she said. “You need to be more careful … I think you know better.”