Fired police chief’s felony case moves to circuit court.

August 22, 2016
Wilson, at left, and Patterson, at right.

Wilson, at left, and Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Oronde Patterson, at right.

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By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — The criminal case against former Shelby Police Chief Robert Glen Wilson II, 62, was bound over to 27th Circuit Court during a preliminary conference in 78th District Court Monday, Aug. 22.

Wilson faces six felony charges, one of which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, due to allegedly performing fraudulent vehicle inspections. Judge H. Kevin Drake ruled Monday that there was sufficient evidence to move the matter up to the higher court.

Wilson, with his attorney, Tim Hayes (in the foreground).

Wilson, with his attorney, Tim Hayes (in the foreground).

Wilson, of 2560 S. 80th Ave., Shelby, faces one count of embezzlement $50,000-$100,000, which is a 15-year felony, and five counts of motor vehicle code – false certification, each of which are punishable by up to five years in prison.

Wilson was fired by the Shelby Village Council with a 5-1 vote last January following an internal investigation that revealed that he had allegedly been doing salvage vehicle inspections without notifying the village and without paying the village the money from the inspections.

MSP Detective Sgt. David Johnson of the Hart post conducted the months-long investigation. The investigation was recently concluded and turned over to Michigan State Assistant Attorney General Oronde Patterson, who is handling the prosecution.

Wilson’s investigation was sparked after Village Administrator Chelsea Stratil received “an anonymous complaint in-person,” she testified Monday. Stratil, who was called as the first witness, testified during cross-examination by Wilson’s court-appointed attorney, Timothy Hayes, that local salvage yard owner John Heykoop, was the person who tipped her off.

The village requested that Wilson provide documents of approximately 700 inspections that he



conducted, and he never supplied them, Stratil said. Most inspections require a $100 fee, so the amount of money Wilson reportedly embezzled is approximately $70,000.

Also called to the stand was Steve McConnell, a regulation manager for the State of Michigan, who oversees the state’s salvage vehicle program. The money from the vehicle inspections is required to go to the agency that the inspector works for, which would be the Village of Shelby, McConnell said.

McConnell examined Wilson’s inspection forms and noticed some “red flags,” he said. Of most concern to him was the number of inspections Wilson claimed he performed per day. Wilson’s documents indicated he was doing as many as eight per day, he said. He also said the inspections were logged in as only taking two hours, which was another red flag. Most inspections take approximately two to four hours, he testified. He also said that most of the inspections Wilson logged took place in Traverse City.

“There were at least two days when there were eight inspections,” he said. That would be 16 hours of inspections; plus working eight hours as chief; and traveling four hours round trip to Traverse City. “I have exceeded 24 hours in a given day,” McConnell said. “It’s a false certification.”

“This court found that a bit of a red herring,” said Judge H. Kevin Drake.

The final witness called to the stand during the two-hour hearing was Elizabeth Canfield, who works in the Michigan State Police LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network) Services Unit. Canfield testified that she checked a random sampling of vehicles that Wilson claimed he inspected but found no record of him querying their Vehicle Inspection Numbers (VINs).

Patterson said Wilson indicated on his inspection records performing VIN checks. “Clearly, he falsified the forms,” he said.

The judge continued Wilson’s $10,000/10 percent bond. A pretrial in circuit court is set for Sept. 12 at 9 a.m.

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