Shelby man sentenced to prison for crime spree

October 2, 2023

Juan Sanchez, Jr.

Shelby man sentenced to prison for crime spree

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

HART — A 26-year-old Shelby man was sentenced to prison in Oceana County’s 51st Circuit Court Monday, Oct. 2, for a crime spree last June.

Juan Sanchez, Jr., of 68 N. State St., was sentenced to concurrent terms of 19 months to five years for a conviction of unlawful driving away of an automobile/car theft; one to four years for assault with a dangerous weapon/felonious assault; and one to two years for assaulting/resisting/obstructing police. Sanchez pleaded “no contest” to the charges Aug. 7. 

A second count of assaulting/resisting/obstructing police and a charge of fleeing and eluding police were dismissed.

“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 in an area where customers were not 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 has been lodged in the Oceana County Jail since his arrest and received credit for his time served toward his prison term, said Bizon.

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

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