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Police: Thieves snowplowed driveways before breaking in

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan — Authorities say two Michigan men snowplowed driveways at homes before they broke into them and snatched valuables, electronics, furniture and even a stuffed bobcat in a spate of thefts across two counties.

Kalkaska County Undersheriff Abe DeVol said investigators linked the suspects to 25 break-ins between December and last week. He said they targeted empty seasonal and permanent homes in Antrim and Kalkaska counties and walked away with an estimated $45,000 worth of property.

According to DeVol the stolen goods were “things they could take or sell very easily,” including televisions, furniture, guns, power tools, collectibles and a stuffed bobcat, which has yet to be recovered.

A joint probe began when detectives in Antrim and Kalkaska sheriff’s departments eventually learned about burglaries in their neighboring county.

DeVol said a tip on a suspect’s vehicle in a Clearwater, Michigan break-in led investigators to two Kalkaska men, ages 28 and 30. He said authorities arrested one suspect last week on an unrelated charge and served a warrant that culminated in a Monday search at a Kalkaska home.

Traverse Narcotics Team officers found suspected heroin at the home, at which the 28-year-old lived and was arrested, DeVol said. He said investigators believe the suspects plowed out driveways at the empty homes they targeted in order to deflect suspicions.

“I would like to stress to everyone to be vigilant of your neighbors’ home,” he said.

Authorities recovered about $15,000 of stolen items from pawn shops, consignment stores and individual sales. DeVol said about $30,000 worth of goods remains at large and he asked community members to contact authorities if they scored a recent good deal.

One suspect each remains in Antrim’s and Kalkaska’s respective jails awaiting arraignment.