Man who stole from family business sent to jail

Terry Chandler, at left, listens to 35th Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart at Chandler’s sentencing hearing Friday.Argus-Press PhotoGreyson Steele

CORUNNA — A Laingsburg man who stole checks from his family’s business to support a drug habit will spend time behind bars before receiving inpatient substance abuse treatment.

Terry Chandler, 36, was sentenced Friday in 35th Circuit Court to 36 months probation, the first 9 months of which will be served in the Shiawassee County Jail. Chandler was given credit for 108 days served and ordered to pay court costs and fines and restitution in the amount of $1,750.

Additionally, following Chandler’s release from jail, he will be required to undergo inpatient treatment.

“Did you grow up in (your family’s) business? What a disappointment you are,” Judge Matthew Stewart said. “I expect your dad is looking forward to his son taking over the business some day. Probably proud to have you next to him learning the business while you’re growing up.

“Instead, you steal from him. How terrible he must have felt where he had to set up a camera to see if his son was stealing from him. How does that make you feel? Instead of helping him run the business, and making him proud, it’s embarrassing,” the judge said. “You ought be ashamed of yourself. I can think of a lot of kids that wish they had a dad with business. Instead, you hurt him. Instead of going to a convention or a show, he’s in a courtroom watching his son in handcuffs. (A deputy) tries to talk you into accepting treatment drug court. ‘I don’t want to overcome my addiction and work hard to to it,’ is what you told us. We can’t make you. That’s fine. We’ll go another way with you and we’ll see how that works. If you violate the terms of probation I’m about to give you, I’m going to send you to prison.”

Chandler was charged March 13 with larceny in a building for stealing checks from his father’s business.

At his arraignment March 14 before 66th District Court Judge Terrance Dignan, Chandler pleaded not guilty. Court records do not indicate the amount bond was set at, but Chandler has been lodged at the jail since his arrest while awaiting disposition of the case.

Chandler pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of attempted larceny in a building at a hearing April 1.

Friday, Chandler’s attorney Doug Corwin asked the court for leniency.

“(Friends) and family have been encouraging him to participate in alternative sentencing, possibly drug court,” Corwin said. “He has declined that, however, he has been attending church. This is a less angry man than when I first met him. He realized he was going down a path that would eventually destroy or potentially kill him — alcoholism, drug addiction. He wants to maintain sobriety. He wants to work on his relationship with his parents. He understands he has broken their trust.”

Prosecutor Deana Finnegan asked the court to impose a stiff sentence.

“He stole several checks, made them payable to himself, forged his father’s name, cashed them all in Ingham County,” Finnegan said. “Then, when he was questioned about it by the Sheriff’s Office, he said he was sure his dad wasn’t going to prosecute him. That’s pretty cocky. I feel sorry for his family… He took advantage of them to fuel his addiction. A deputy has done a lot to attempt to get him involved in drug court. Mr. Chandler didn’t want that. He didn’t want to do the work that it takes to live a sober, productive life. That’s disheartening as well.”

Chandler said he hoped to turn his life around.

“I’m sorry and accept full responsibility,” Chandler said. “I’m looking to repair the relationship with (my parents). I want to maintain sobriety, get to work, and contribute to society.”

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