Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

July 7, 2014

Yard sale criminal investigation detailed

FRANKFORT — Authorities say they’ve cracked the case of the covered chicken dish.

A woman’s curiosity over a unique covered dish shaped like a chicken that had disappeared from her Crystal Lake area home led to the recent arrests of a man and woman accused of pilfering the item and reselling it at a yard sale, Benzie County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Troy Lamerson said.

Donald Ferguson Marshall, 52, and Kimberly Ann Hill, 36, both of Frankfort, each are charged with single felony counts of receiving and concealing stolen property. Authorities are trying to determine if they are connected to a string of other break-ins in the Crystal Lake area.

“They were literally selling items from multiple houses broken into within a two-mile radius from where the yard sale took place,” Lamerson said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The investigation started when a woman, 56, stopped into the E-Klek-tik-a antique store in Frankfort about three weeks ago. The woman noticed a unique dish shaped like a chicken that looked very similar to a dish stolen from her home.

“She picked up the covered chicken dish and said ‘I used to have one of these',” E-Klek-tik-a proprietor Mary Deur said. “She said, ‘I may have to buy it so I still have a momento.’ She told me her house had been broken into.”

Deur immediately told the customer she’d purchased the item at a yard sale off M-115 and “you might want to run out there and check it out.”

The woman returned a short time later and told Deur “I saw more of my stuff out there,” prompting an immediate call to the police.

Lamerson said a search warrant was served at the yard sale at 2229 Frankfort Highway. Several items stolen from area residences were recovered, including a cookie jar shaped like Frankenstein. Lamerson praised the assistance of Deur and her store, which was not involved in the thefts. An investigation is continuing to determine if the suspects could be linked to up to four local burglaries and a theft that date to last fall. No additional charges have been filed.

“Mr. Marshall has done some construction work with a couple of different employers in this area," Lamerson said. "He has also been involved in cleaning some cottages around Crystal Lake.”

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