Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 28, 2013

Authorities investigate Traverse City home invasion conspiracy

BY MATT TROUTMAN mtroutman@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man is accused of conspiring to break into an East Bay Township home to steal money and pills from a safe.

Lonnie L. Grady, 24, faces an 86th District Court warrant for second-degree conspiracy to commit home invasion and first-degree attempted home invasion. Two co-defendants — Santonya Rose Winstone, 27, of Kingsley, and Anthony Michael Branch, 28, of Benzonia — also face felony warrants connected with the April 28 incident.

Police reports state a woman reported a man was trying to break into her home in the 900 block of Tamarack Drive by removing an air conditioner unit from a window. The report states the man told her “I’m here to fix the air conditioner” when confronted by the woman.

“She then yelled at him and he dropped the unit and ran back (toward a) vehicle,” the report states.

The woman told authorities the suspect had to run to catch up with the vehicle driving away on Tamarack. Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies and Michigan State Police stopped a vehicle on Garfield Road matching the description and talked with Branch, who was driving, and Grady and Winstone.

Authorities arrested Grady after the woman identified him as the suspect. Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney said his office took months to authorize the charge because it awaited a fingerprint analysis of the air conditioner, which came back as a positive match for Grady.

Winstone also faces a warrant on a charge of conspiracy to commit second-degree home invasion. The witness’ son later told deputies that Winstone, his ex-girlfriend, was aware that he kept money and his medication in a safe in the room with the air conditioner unit. The son also told deputies she was aware he recently won $6,000 at the casino because there was a “picture of him in his bedroom near the safe of him winning the $6,000.”

Conspiracy to commit second-degree home invasion is punished by up to 15 years in prison.

Branch told authorities he picked up Grady from near Tamarack Drive just minutes before the traffic stop. A warrant on an accessory after the fact charge has been filed in 86th District Court. The charges is punished by up to 5 years in prison.

Court records show Grady pleaded guilty in June to attempted larceny in a building in an unrelated case. He is scheduled for an Oct. 1 arraignment in 86th District Court on another unrelated larceny charge.