Stephanie Harvell’s problems were supposed to be over.
She and her husband, Mitchell Arnswald, lost their car and were on the verge of being evicted from their home in Bay City, Mich., when they hit the jackpot with a scratch ticket in early 2016. The couple collected their US$500,000 and told the Michigan Lottery that the win “couldn’t have come at a better time.”
“We both work really hard, and it’s been tough to support our family,” Harvell told the Michigan Lottery in January 2016. “It’s hard to find words for what this means for our family.”
They said at the time that they would use the money to buy a house, purchase a car and set up college funds for their daughters.
Now, some three-and-a-half years later, Harvell and Arnswald are sitting in a Michigan county jail awaiting charges in connection with a string of burglaries across the state.
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office says the couple are suspects in at least a dozen daylight burglaries across five Michigan counties over the last two months. Investigators in Bay, Saginaw, Midland, Arenac and Tuscola counties are currently trying to parse out just how many they might be linked to.
Harvell and Arnswald were arrested on Aug. 29 after they were located inside a Ford SUV matching the description of one spotted near several of the break-ins.
Authorities found stolen evidence inside the vehicle and inside the couple’s home after executing a search warrant, according to Bay County Sheriff Troy R. Cunningham. He suspects the couple allegedly broke into a home in Merritt Township shortly before the arrest.
“The different jurisdictions are still getting together to pinpoint which ones that we think they committed,” Cunningham told Michigan Live. “There have been so many B&Es in the daytime in all these areas,” he said.
Cunningham said the affected homes were not occupied during the burglaries.
The couple appeared in Bay County District Court last Friday, where they were arraigned on single counts of second-degree home invasion and possession of burglary tools.
The judge set a $50,000 cash-surety bond for each of the former lottery winners. Neither of them has managed to post the bond.
Jail records show Harvell and Arnswald were still in custody on Thursday afternoon.
They are due back in court on Sept. 18.
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