Father and son who went on 'crime spree' sentenced to prison
Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office
The four men who went on a self-described "crime spree" in Ann Arbor and western Washtenaw County last summer, ransacking and stealing from several homes, have all been sentenced to prison as of Wednesday.
Dexter residents Jeffrey Aron Schuh, 21, and his father Jeffrey Arthur Schuh, 54, and Steven Colwell, 26, of Lima Township, were sentenced Wednesday in the Washtenaw County Trial Court. Another member of the foursome was sentenced April 25.
Jeffrey Aron Schuh was the first to face Judge Archie Brown Wednesday. Brown sentenced the younger Schuh to 4 to 15 years in prison and ordered him to pay $106,839 in restitution to the victims and their insurance companies.
Payment of restitution is shared jointly among all four defendants.
Jeffrey Aron Schuh told the judge that he's not the same person who committed the break-ins.
"I'm not the monster the paperwork makes me out to be. I understand the depths of what happened," he said, adding the houses or people were never "targeted specifically."
He also told the judge that it was Colwell who got 19-year-old Quang Nguyen involved. Nguyen — known by the alias Aiden — in turn got the Schuhs involved. Nguyen, of Ypsilanti Township, was sentenced April 25 to 4-15 years in a state prison and ordered to pay the restitution as well.
Jeffrey Aron Schuh said he took the bait because he grew up poor and saw an opportunity.
"I took a shortcut," he said about what he called a "20-day crime spree."
Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Dianna Collins said the younger Schuh deserves every day he will be locked up, citing the fact his DNA linked him to toilets of homes the group broke into. Prosecutors said the younger Schuh defecated in the toilets and didn't flush them as a sort of calling card.
"Some of these homes were destroyed," Collins said. "He's deserving of every day of his four-year minimum sentence."
Brown followed the sentencing agreement that was struck during the plea deal.
"They suffered a variety of damages," Brown said about the victims. "You invaded their homes ... their sanctity, their peace."
The judge also followed the agreements with both Jeffrey Arthur Schuh and Colwell, who got a lesser sentence for testifying against the three other men.
While addressing the court, Jeffrey Arthur Schuh said he was dismayed at himself for not being more responsible when the three younger men approached him and asked him if he wanted to ride along on three of the nine break-ins.
"I should have talked them out of it," he said. "I should have been a better father figure."
The elder Schuh was sentenced to 3 to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for the cases he was involved in, which amounted to $45,266.
Colwell received a reduced sentencing for cooperating with police and the prosecution. He testified against his three partners in crime at the preliminary examination, where he went into details about the crew's methods and what they stole. His attorney, Assistant Washtenaw County Public Defender Laura Dudley, said Colwell was mostly involved to satiate his appetite for hard drugs.
"I think deep down, there's a good kid in there," she said.
Colwell was sentenced to 2 to 15 years in prison and ordered to pay the full restitution with the younger Schuh and Nguyen.
"The cocaine and heroin was a big problem in my life," he said, adding that it drove him to do things he never thought he'd do.
The four broke into a total of nine houses in Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Township, Scio Township, Webster Township and Dexter Township, according to Colwell's testimony. He said the elder Schuh functioned as a lookout on three of the jobs. The foursome stole a wide range of items, including foreign coins, two-dollar bills, equestrian trophies, jewelry, silver goblets, electronics, cash, a guitar and custom-made brass bullets.
Below is a map of all the homes the crew hit last summer.
View Summer break-in map in a larger map