Shelby man faces prison for truck theft, dangerous weapon and police assault

August 8, 2023

Juan Sanchez, Jr.

Shelby man faces prison for truck theft, dangerous weapon and police assault

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

HART — A 26-year-old Shelby man faces up to a 22-month minimum prison term after pleading “no contest” to felony charges of unlawful driving away of an automobile/car theft, assault with a dangerous weapon and assaulting/resisting/obstructing police in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court Monday, Aug. 7.

Additional charges of assaulting/resisting/obstructing police and fleeing and eluding police were dismissed against Juan Sanchez, Jr., of 68 N. State St.

“The events started with the defendant stealing a pickup truck from NJ Fox in Shelby,” said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. The crime occurred June 6, 2023. “This led to a chase where he fled from and resisted the Shelby officer. And the defendant proceeded to cause a disturbance at Lewis Farms, pointing an apparent pistol at an employee there, which turned out to be a BB gun but this was unknown at the time.” Lewis Adventure Farm and Zoo located on M 20 in New Era is a big attraction for tourists and local families, where young children enjoy petting and feeding animals. The criminal incident occurred in the fields and not in the store where customers were present. Sanchez did not know the victim, said Bizon. The Lewis employee approached Sanchez to ask him to leave, and then Sanchez pointed the BB gun at the worker.

“By this time, multiple officers from multiple agencies were attempting to apprehend him. He continued to resist the lawful instructions of officers, ultimately being tased and apprehended.”

The incident resulted in two criminal files — one from the initial Shelby car theft, and the second from the sheriff’s response with assistance from the Michigan State Police at Lewis Adventure Farm and Zoo.

“He could face as much as 22 months in prison on his minimum sentence,” said Prosecutor Bizon.

Sanchez pleaded to the victim-related crimes — felonious assault, truck theft and one count of assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer. 

“The other charges were lesser to the UDAA (unlawful driving away of an automobile/truck theft) and felonious assault and redundant to the resisting and obstructing,” said Bizon.  “They added more to his sentencing guidelines by being dismissed than by being convicted of them. The police officers involved all agreed this was the prudent option.”

Sanchez was one of three teens who broke into Hart High School in 2015.

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