TRAVERSE CITY — A Kingsley man with a long criminal history broke into a former housemate’s Garfield Township residence and stole a safe containing thousands of dollars worth of money and jewelry, authorities said.
Anthony Vernon Bucco, 29, was arraigned Friday in 86th District Court on felony charges of safe breaking and second-degree home invasion.
A Grand Traverse County sheriff’s department investigation also led to felony charges against Donald Walter Dean III, 27, of Traverse City, who is accused of providing tools for breaking into the safe and disposing of its broken shell.
Grand Traverse County Assistant Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said she didn’t know whether more charges might be in the offing.
Police reports state a Garfield Township woman reported her safe containing between $2,000 and $4,000 in cash — and more than twice that in jewelry and coins — was stolen from her Frank Street mobile home. The woman identified Bucco as one of two people who knew the safe’s location.
“She advised both had resided with her, but had recently been evicted due to non-payment of rent,” the police report states.
Detectives interviewed several witnesses who said Bucco had an unexplained influx of cash after Dec. 11. One said Bucco “produced (four) to (five) $100.00 bills and began to ‘make it rain’ on her,” the report states.
Bucco denied being involved in the theft after deputies after his Dec. 12 arrest on an outstanding warrant. Authorities conducted a warrant search at Dean’s Manor Lane residence and located tools, a coin collection and a woman’s diamond ring.
“Dean eventually confessed that Bucco had used Dean’s residence to open the safe and that he had used Dean’s tools to (break) into it,” court documents state. “After the safe was broken into, Bucco gave Dean $100 for his troubles.”
The search also located oxycodone, morphine and marijuana. Dean faces a warrant on felony accessory after the fact and two drug possession charges.
Bucco remains in Grand Traverse County’s jail for failing to make $100 monthly payments after he pleaded guilty to third-degree retail fraud. He’s charged as a habitual offender after prior convictions for domestic violence and disorderly conduct.
A preliminary exam in 86th District Court is scheduled for Jan. 10 at 11:30 a.m.