Greenville airport thief gets prison time

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 2:01 pm on Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tyler Rivera

STANTON – A man was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison Thursday after breaking into the Greenville Municipal Airport and stealing an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) last year.

Tyler Rivera, 19, of Holt, previously pleaded guilty to breaking and entering a building with intent. The crime was Rivera’s fifth felony as an adult.

On Thursday, Judge Suzanne Hoseth Kreeger sentenced Rivera to from 29 months to 10 years in prison, plus $2,674.30 in restitution to be paid jointly with two co-defendants.

Rivera didn’t wish to make a statement before he was sentenced. When the judge pressed him to speak, he said he learned from his crime and will never steal again.

“You certainly appear to be the leader in this situation and that concerns me,” Kreeger said.

Rivera’s longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend, Amanda Engel, 19, of Greenville, testified against him at a preliminary court hearing last year. Engel pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing stolen property in connection with the crime.

Vandel “Van” Stephens, 19, of Sidney, was charged with receiving and concealing stolen property in connection with the crime, but his court record is no longer public.

Engel was fired from her job at the Greenville airport about a month before the May 27 or May 28 break-in. She was rehired about a week before the theft, but was about to be fired again, according to airport manager Peter Jeppesen.

Avon Arbo testified in court that he stored his Bombardier ATV in his hangar at the city-owned Greenville airport when it was stolen. Montcalm County sheriff’s deputies recovered the extensively damaged ATV in late August and arrested Engel and Stephens. They arrested Rivera in late October.

Jeppesen testified that a terminal window was broken, a couch was tipped over and cash had been stolen from the airport and from Petersen Oil, which manages the airport’s fuel system.

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