You are viewing this article in the AnnArbor.com archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see MLive.com/ann-arbor
Posted on Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Father and son who went on 'crime spree' sentenced to prison

By John Counts

colwellschuhsngyuen.jpg

Jeffrey Arthur Schuh, Jeffrey Aron Schuh, Quang Nguyen and Steven Colwell.

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

John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.

Comments

Angry Ann Arborite

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

I want Nicole--the girl that doth protested too much--creep123 and Tarah to apogee to the journalist and everyone that they attacked on the comment sections for claiming falsehoods about this case. I went to the sentencing for the Schuhs and can honestly say that I'm convinced that they're truly guilty for the crimes this they plead guilty. They both seemed accepted full responsibility and made sincere apologies to the victims and the court. They seemed like good people that made terrible decisions and I hope they learn a valuable lesson in prison. They deserve all the time that they've received and more.

nickcarraweigh

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

They stopped being ordinary, decent criminals when they left the toilets unflushed.

you can't handle the truth

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Very weak sentences. No wonder Ann Arbor and the surrounding area is a mecca for home invasions. Chances are you won't get caught. And if you do, you will be back to business in a relatively short amount of time.

DJBudSonic

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Sure...underneath every heroin and cocaine using robber and snitch is a good kid waiting to come out, if only the taxpayers will provide enough support.

KateT

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Somebody I know actually briefly dated one of these people. Eerie.

mady

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Yikes........!!!

Hazel411

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 3 a.m.

Publishing the home invasion victims' addresses on a google map seems like another invasion - of the victims' privacy. Was it really necessary to include the addresses? Maybe just a general geographic location of the homes would suffice.

tommy_t

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

The old man seems a lifetime late in excellent parenting skills. Life is hard for everyone...now you know, maybe.

jns131

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 12:56 a.m.

Reminds me of a new crime already being discovered in Ohio. Did you hear what one daughter did? So sad.

A2brooksie

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

Since there was a sentenance agreement as part of thier pleas, cant say much about the sentenance as far as Judge Brown goes, as its what the prosecuter agreed to, however a 4 year min sentenance for 7 home invasions, just about 6 months for each seems pretty short. Seems to send a message if you are going to do 2-3 home invasions, may as well do alot of them because if you get caught you won't do any extra time!

Paul

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

Yes, its very unlikely they be out in 4 years--not today. Good time is gone, you are expected to behave in prison and time ADDED on happens often. Why not flush the toilet ? did his DNA catch him, lol

The Infinite Jester

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Remember 4 years is MINIMUM. They could very well be in for 10-15 years.