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Second brother pleads guilty to BLP break-in

Becky Vargo • Jul 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The second of two brothers arrested for breaking and entering a Grand Haven Board of Light & Power property pleaded guilty to the charges in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Monday.

Jerry Lee Campbell, 47, of Muskegon faces up to life in prison, because of his habitual offender status, when he is sentenced Aug. 13.

His brother, George Alan Campbell, 54, was sentenced July 9 to serve a minimum of just under four years to a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Although George Campbell has been in jail since the April incident, he did not receive any credit for time served due to being on parole at the time of the crime.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized at the time of his sentencing.

“You’re getting kind of old for this,” Judge Jon Hulsing told him.

The brothers were charged with possession of burglary tools, larceny of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000, and trespassing upon a keyed facility.

Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officers were patrolling the area near the local utility’s Eaton Drive offices on the morning of April 23 when they came upon two men on the property, according to Lt. Joe Boyle. Police were patrolling the area more often after being alerted to a previous break-in attempt at the same facility in March, Boyle said.

The Campbells 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,” the lieutenant added.

At Monday’s hearing, Jerry Campbell admitted that he used bolt cutters to cut the fence and get onto the BLP property where he intended to steal copper wire. He said they didn’t have big enough bolt cutters and were running out of time, so they just grabbed a chainsaw and a leaf blower.

Jerry Campbell told Judge Karen Miedema that he believes that they got caught because they set off silent alarms.

The brothers have a long history with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Jerry Campbell 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.

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 of 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.

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