Man and teenager accused of a dozen burglaries, arson

Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 18:14:36-05

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. -- Michelle Calkins, owner of Four Corners Framing Company and neighboring Beechwood Dry Cleaners are just two of at least a dozen businesses hit by burglars in a one month time frame in the Holland and Zeeland areas. That's according to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office. Those two break-ins happened Friday the 24th.

"It was kind of a rude awakening on Black Friday," Calkins said.

Just days earlier, investigators believe the same pair of criminals broke in and set fire to Graphix Sign and Embroidery Shop in Holland Township. Taking that into account, Calkins said her broken door and some missing cash are actually a blessing in disguise.

"Possibly if they wouldn't have come here after [leaving] Beechwood [Dry Cleaners], they may have gotten away," Calkins said.

Captain Mark Bennett with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office said, "[A] 25-year-old guy is our caller."

He said 48-year-old Shane Wheeler and a 16-year-old were arrested after being caught red-handed at Beechwood Dry Cleaners thanks to a passerby who noticed them at 3 AM. During the burglaries, Bennett said the suspects typically stole cash. Jail records show Wheeler was booked Friday on two counts of breaking and entering and has a prison record for burglaries and other thefts dating back to the mid-1980s.
He's also a registered sex offender.​

Bennett said, "It's almost like a mentorship was going on, very unhealthy mentorship. It is concerning."

In addition to breaking and entering and arson, Bennett said the two will likely face a more severe conspiracy charge based on the crime spree and evidence recovered.

"It was a very lucrative stop based upon a very good move by a concerned citizen who called us," Bennett said.

Calkins said, "Glad that they're caught."

Bennett said the teen and Wheeler met through the teen's mother. Investigators hope prosecutors successfully move to charge the 16-year-old as an adult. Bennett added that the teen is just a few days from turning 17.

Investigators said they believe they know a motive for the fire, but they said they wouldn't be able to discuss it at this point.