Area woman gets prison time for Niles Township break-in
Published 9:06 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023
NILES — An area woman was sentenced to prison Monday in Berrien County Trial Court.
Adrienne Welch, 46, of Elkhart, pleaded guilty to attempted breaking and entering a building to commit larceny and was sentenced to 14 months to five years in prison with credit for 17 days served. She must pay $998 in fines, costs and restitution. She can serve the sentence in any penal institution.
She was also sentenced to credit for 15 days served for failing to appear for her original sentencing date in early November.
The incident occurred June 21 in Niles Charter Township.
Welch is currently on probation in Cass County where she was sentenced in January for breaking into storage units on Yankee Street in Howard Township in 2020. She also is serving a work release sentence in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
Defense attorney Shayne Williams said Welch has a high school diploma and associate’s degree and is currently working as part of the St. Joseph County, Indiana work release sentence. Williams noted that Welch began using drugs a few years ago and making poor decisions.
“I know I’ve made a lot of bad decisions, my life has been spiraling out of control,” Welch said. “I would appreciate being able to keep the work release. I definitely need to make restitution for what I did.”
Judge Smith noted that Welch didn’t have her first criminal conviction until her 40s and that using drugs has led to her criminal behavior as she steals items to get the money to buy drugs.
“You have had multiple probations in the past,” the judge said. “Cass County decided to give you a chance on probation when you faced prison guidelines but here you are again stealing property to buy drugs. I don’t think another term of probation is appropriate. Until you decide to stop using drugs, you will continue to commit crimes.”
Judge Smith warned Welch that her prior record variable is already high and will go higher and call for more prison sentences if she continues to commit crimes.
“You haven’t hit rock bottom yet, hopefully you can get help in prison and come out and be a better person,” she said.