Man could face life in prison for theft from BLP

Becky Vargo • Jun 5, 2018 at 8:00 AM

A Muskegon man with a long history of breaking and entering pleaded guilty to yet another similar charge Monday in Ottawa County Circuit Court.

George Alan Campbell, 54, is one of two brothers charged in connection to a breaking and entering at Grand Haven Board of Light & Power property on April 23.

Because of his habitual-offender status, Campbell faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on the burglary charges July 9.

Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officers were patrolling the area near the local utility’s Eaton Drive facility early in the morning of April 23 when they came upon two men on the property, according to Lt. Joe Boyle. 

According to Boyle, police were patrolling the area more often after being alerted to a previous break-in attempt at the same facility in March.

The men had taken a chainsaw, leaf blower and some copper wire after cutting a hole in the fence in the back of the property, Boyle said.

“We later discovered a U-Haul they had rented,” he added.

During Monday’s hearing, Judge John Hulsing asked George Campbell if he had possession of a bolt cutter, pry bars and a grinder for the specific intent to commit a theft crime.

“Yes,” Campbell replied. He noted his intent was to steal copper.

Campbell also said “yes” when asked if he broke into a secured area that had a conspicuous sign warning persons not to enter.

Campbell pleaded guilty to charges of possession of burglary tools, larceny of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, and trespassing upon a key facility. In exchange, no additional charges resulting from the Ottawa County case will be added. However, Campbell would still be required to make restitution on all cases.

Campbell’s brother, 47-year-old Jerry Lee Campbell, also of Muskegon, is facing the same charges. He is also a four-time habitual offender.

On May 15, Jerry Campbell waived arraignment on the charges in 58th District Court. A final pre-trial conference is set for Aug. 6, and a trial is scheduled for Sept. 5.

Hulsing pointed out that George Campbell has prior breaking and entering convictions from 2008 in both Ottawa and Muskegon counties. He also has a safe-breaking conviction from 2007 in Newaygo County.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections website, George Campbell was paroled Oct. 31, 2017, after serving the minimum nine years for the 2007 incidents. He first went to prison for a minimum 3.5 years in 1983 for breaking and entering in Newaygo County. He was charged with prison escape in 1984 and ordered to serve 3-5 years in prison.

In 1991, George Campbell was sentenced to another 3.5 to 15 years for breaking and entering a building with intent to steal in Chippewa County. In 1996, he was ordered to serve 10-20 years in prison for the same charge in Tuscola County.

Jerry Campbell also has a long history with the Michigan Department of Corrections. He earned 3-5 years in prison for a 1989 larceny over $100 charge in Muskegon County. He received 3-5 years for a 1991 prison escape. In 2000, he went back to prison for uttering and publishing and forgery charges in both Ottawa and Muskegon counties. In 2001, he received 1-4 years for larceny in a building and 4-20 years for home invasion, both in Muskegon County. In 2010, he was again charged with larceny in a building. In 2017, it was an unlawful use of an automobile.

Jerry Campbell was paroled Aug. 21, 2017.

The brothers are currently lodged in the Ottawa County Jail.

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