Deputies: Man shoveled neighbor's driveway, stole her jewelry

Cary Ashby • Mar 28, 2014 at 9:20 PM

A Willard man who attended church with a neighbor reportedly has admitted to stealing jewelry from the woman "on three separate occasions" when he shoveled her driveway.

Tyler C. Branham, 24, of 881 Lakeview Drive, was arrested on a burglary warrant without incident at his home Tuesday. If convicted of the second-degree felony, he faces two to eight years in prison.

On March 17, the female victim reported someone attempted to break into her home.

The Willard woman told Huron County Sheriff's Deputy Shannon Lyons she left for breakfast about 8 a.m. When she returned home, she noticed "someone had messed with her garage windows," according to the deputy's report. Lyons checked the windows and determined nobody had gained entry into the residence.

The victim said she spoke to a neighbor who had some items stolen from her home about October and she suspected it was the same person, according to the report.

On March 20, Lyons again interviewed the victim. She said Branham had been "helping her around the house" by shoveling her driveway on multiple occasions, Lyons said in his report. The woman also reported she went to church with Branham.

The victim followed the deputy to a local Cashland and they determined Branham "turned in the jewelry for cash" March 5 and 6, according to the deputy's report.

Lyons then interviewed Willard Police Officer Ryan Hall, who "said he had confiscated some jewelry from Tyler Branham in January" and the suspect "mentioned he had gotten the jewelry from a vacant apartment he was cleaning," Lyons wrote in his report. Hall logged in that jewelry as evidence at the police department.

The deputy next interviewed Branham at his home and later at the sheriff's office. The suspect initially said "he found the jewelry in the vacant apartment he was cleaning," but then admitted he stole it from the victim, according to the report.

While shoveling the woman's driveway, Branham asked her if he could use the bathroom. Instead of going there, he said he went into the victim's bedroom, which is across the hall from the bathroom, and "grabbed jewelry from her dresser," the deputy wrote.

"Tyler also stated he had (done) this on three separate occasions," Lyons also said in his report.

Branham must post a $25,000 bond before being released from the Huron County Jail. If he post bail, he is prohibited from having any association with the victim.

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