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'I let a lot of people down'

By Noah Fromson/WZZM-TV • Apr 17, 2019 at 11:00 AM

The man charged with burning down a graphics and sign shop and breaking into more than 10 stores in Ottawa County may get a new trial. 

Shane William Wheeler, 49, appeared in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Monday to be sentenced for a fall 2017 crime spree, during which authorities said he burned down Graphix Signs and Embroidery in Holland with his teenage accomplice, David Anthony Pelon. 

Wheeler, who pleaded no contest to the Ottawa County crimes last month, was sentenced in February to between six and 30 years in prison for breaking into three Kent County businesses with Pelon. The teen was sentenced to 240 days in jail and three years probation in Ottawa County. 

Wheeler and Pelon were playing “Robin Hood,” stealing from the rich and giving to themselves, said a victim of the Ottawa County thefts in court. The man said Wheeler and Pelon caused serious emotional damage to his family. 

"My youngest son has passed away, and you had played a part in that because he suffered from depression, and it really tore him up," the victim told Wheeler. "It really tore us up that someone could break into our buildings, steal stuff ... and (we) felt totally violated."

Wheeler broke down during the victim's testimony and apologized before sentencing. 

"I do regret what you've gone through, and I regret your loss," he said. "Just be strong, and I am so sorry."

The initial plea agreement called for a sentence consistent with the Kent County crimes, said Ottawa County Judge Jon Hulsing. 

"After reviewing the pre-sentence report and listening to the victim and listening to the allocution, the court must oblige you that I will not follow the plea agreement," Hulsing told Wheeler. 

The judge gave Wheeler the option of withdrawing his plea and having a trial. Wheeler and his attorney will appear in court April 22 with their decision.  

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