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Fugitive Brought to Justice for Burglary and Nets 10 Year Prison Sentence

June 12, 2014

Mikal Lopez, 23, of Plymouth was sentenced Thursday, June 12, in Marshall Superior Court Number 1 to 10 years imprisonment for burglarizing a house on Pennsylvania Avenue.  In open court, Lopez admitted that on January 4, 2012, he burglarized the home and stole a Play Station with controllers, a video game and a dish full of coins.

Judge Robert O. Bowen approved an agreement reached between Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman and defense attorney Douglas N. Hite, which provided that upon an admission of guilt to the charge of burglary, and a plea of guilty to unrelated charges of possession of marijuana and operating a vehicle without ever having been licensed, Lopez would be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for burglary, one year imprisonment for possession of marijuana and 60 days for the driving offense with all sentences running concurrent.  Four years of the sentence for burglary was suspended.

The case began on January 4, 2012 when the victim reported that his home had been broken into and items taken.  Plymouth Police Officer Jesse Pippenger responded to the scene and discovered the windowpane of the back door had been broken and presumably entry gained by reaching in and unlocking the door while the victim was at work.

Plymouth Police Detective Leo Mangus then took the case and interviewed various people that identified Mikal Lopez as recently carrying a Play Station and a dish full of coins.  Two of the witnesses stated Lopez admitted to them he had broken into the victim’s home.  On January 10, 2012, Detective Mangus interviewed an employee at Gamestop on North Oak Road who revealed that the store had purchased from Lopez a video game that matched the video game taken from the victim’s home.  On January 12, 2012, Detective Mangus was able to track down Lopez by telephone, who admitted he possessed the Play Station but denied stealing it or burglarizing the home.  On January 17, 2012 the Play Station and assorted controllers were returned by mail to a mutual acquaintance of Lopez and the victim.

Based on the evidence gathered by Detective Mangus a warrant for Lopez’s arrest was issued and remained outstanding for almost two years.  It was believed Lopez was in Texas, and it was later confirmed that he was sentenced to jail for theft.

On January 25, 2014, Marshall County Sheriff Deputy Brandon Cooper made a routine traffic stop in which the male driver gave a false name and had no identification.  Deputy Cooper was soon able to identify the driver with his correct name of Mikal Lopez and found the outstanding warrant for his arrest. Lopez was taken into custody and on his person was found a quantity of marijuana and a drug for which Lopez did not have a legitimate prescription.  In addition it was determined Lopez had never obtained a driver’s license.

Chipman noted the excellent detective work of Leo Mangus in solving the two year old burglary within a week of commission.  In addition, the superb police work of Deputy Cooper resulted in nabbing the fugitive and bringing him to justice.