Lakeview ‘crime ring’ member sent to prison

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 10:17 am on Monday, December 12, 2011

Candy Cole

Matthew Hoaglin

Tony Jones

Billy Lake

Stephen Molitor

STANTON — A member of a local organized crime ring was sentenced Thursday to up to five years in prison for stealing and selling wire.
Stephen Molitor, 22, of Lakeview, pleaded guilty to two counts of larceny $1,000 to $20,000.
He was sentenced Thursday to from 18 months to five years in prison, plus $30,040.87 in restitution.
Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause asked 8th Judicial Circuit Court Judge David Hoort to exceed the recommended jail sentence because Molitor violated his bond both before and after his guilty plea.
“I had a major drug problem,” Molitor told the judge. “I was with the wrong crowd. I know that I messed up immensely.”
Hoort was not impressed, noting Molitor was likely only saying what he thought the judge wanted to hear.
“This was an organized crime ring,” Hoort said. “It’s not where somebody does something in one night of stupidity. It would be a slap in the face if you were allowed to flaunt probation, flaunt the laws of this state and get jail time. Maybe prison will be that wake-up call that you tell me you have already received.”
Molitor drove other people to locations throughout Montcalm County, where they stole wire — mostly from farms — and sold the wire to scrap yards.
Four co-defendants have already been convicted and sentenced.
Tony Jones, 25, of Six Lakes, pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing stolen property more than $200 but less than $1,000. He was sentenced last October to five days jail and six months probation.
Candy Cole, 31, of Greenville, pleaded guilty to attempted larceny more than $200 but less than $1,000. She was sentenced last December to 30 days jail and 18 months probation.
Billy Lake, 31, of Edmore, and Matthew Hoaglin, 25, of Lakeview, pleaded guilty to attempted larceny more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. They were sentenced in January. Lake was sentenced to three years probation with credit for 169 days already served, while Hoaglin was sentenced to eight months jail and four years probation.
According to Montcalm County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Doug McFadden, Cole helped break the case open by testifying against her co-defendants.
All five convicts must pay a share of the restitution.

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