2018-02-07 / Front Page

Traffic stop ends crime spree

Suspect tied to dozens of break-ins
BY ERIC LEVINE
810-452-2689 • elevine@mihomepaper.com


Gonzalo Medellin III Gonzalo Medellin III A Bad Axe man suspected in more than two dozen break-ins in the Thumb area has been bound over to circuit court in Sanilac County.

Sheriff Garry Biniecki credits good police work for the arrest of Gonzalo Medellin III during a traffic stop on Jan. 9.

“I believe we have only hit the tip of the iceberg,” said the sheriff. “We know from his dealings that he has been busy from Lansing through the Thumb.

“We will continue to work the investigation and I’m confident more crimes will be solved and property will be recovered by both us and other agencies as well.”

For months sheriff departments and state police in Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola counties had been investigating burglaries in which a common link was an older maroon-colored Cadillac spotted in the area of several break-ins.

When Sanilac Sgt. Shelly Park pulled over a Cadillac for running a stop sign at Deckerville and Wheeler roads in Argyle Township that day, “it looked like the vehicle… She had the presence of mind on what she had seen, what needed to be done,” said Biniecki.

Although Park was responding to another call when she stopped the Cadillac, she remained on the scene and called for back-up.

Her suspicions that she might have cracked the crime spree with the traffic stop proved correct when she and Deckerville Police Chief Bob Willis, who was dispatched to the scene, discovered stolen items from area break-ins in the car.

Medellin, who is on parole for home invasions, was arrested and transported to the Sanilac County Jail.

Over the next several weeks, authorities from county, city and state law enforcement agencies executed search warrants for homes and storage sheds in the Bad Axe, Mayville and Vassar areas, according to Detective-Sgt. Nathan Smith of the Sanilac County Sheriff Department.

From evidence obtained through the searches, authorities believe Medellin is linked to or suspected of being involved in more than 24 break-ins, including several in Sanilac County, said Biniecki.

Medellin, “under the premise of being a salesman went door-to-door, which allowed him to case a residence,” Biniecki alleged, adding, “Two days later he would break into the house.”

The sheriff described the suspect’s method of selling stolen items as “personal…word of mouth, friend of a friend…It looked like he took orders for the stuff.”

The sheriff added, “The investigation is ongoing as to if people knew what they were buying or even selling stolen property for or from him.”

The items ranged from electronics, tools and firearms, to jewelry, cash and coins.

“He’d work his way through the house,” the sheriff said.

Biniecki lauded the investigative work that went into cracking the case.

“The solving of this case was due to solid police work by all my deputies involved in the case, as well as neighboring agencies, but I feel it should be noted that Sergeant Park’s initiative and focus was key in bringing this suspect to justice…Thanks goes to Sergeant Shelly Park and her traffic stop.”

Medellin has been bound over for trial in Sanilac County Circuit Court on charges that include two counts of home invasion, two counts of larceny in a building, larceny of firearms, receiving and concealing stolen property, possession of marijuana, and operating a motor vehicle without security.

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