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Man blames problems on heroin addiction

Becky Vargo • May 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A Muskegon man blamed his problems on a heroin addiction and begged the judge for help when he was sentenced Monday for retail fraud in the Grand Haven area.

Thomas Lee Wyrick, 45, was ordered to serve 270 days in jail for stealing from the Walmart store in Grand Haven Township on Dec. 28, 2016. He was given credit for 35 days already served in jail.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Karen Miedema told Wyrick that she was going with a higher sentence than was recommended by the guidelines because of his history of seven felony and eight misdemeanor convictions.

Prosecuting Attorney Sarah Matwiejczyk noted that Wyrick had been in prison three times and in jail four times. She encouraged the judge to stay at the high end of the guidelines.

Wyrick apologized to the court and his family, and then apologized for wasting their time.

“I have a substance abuse problem and I need help — bad,” he said.

Defense attorney Chris Houghtaling told the court that his client had been employed prior to this latest incident, but has suffered from substance abuse challenges and needs treatment.

Miedema said that once Wyrick serves 180 days in jail, he may be released to a residential treatment program when a bed is available. Once out of jail, he will be on probation for two years and must complete a cognitive behavioral therapy program, the judge said.

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