COLDWATER, Mich. — Willam Lee Sowards, 36, should have been in jail Sunday morning. Instead, he is in Branch County Jail, charged with a 10-year felony for breaking into the Coldwater Golf Course clubhouse building at 270 Narrows Road.
Prosecutor Zack Stempien told Magistrate Val White he was ready to press charges against Sowards over another break-in at a computer store in downtown Coldwater.
“The defendant has caused continued havoc in our community,” Stempien said.
White told Sowards: “The court has been advised that several law enforcement agencies have information about possible criminal behavior on your part.”
White set bail on the break and enter at $100,000 at Stempien’s request.
The burglar alarm at the business, which is also home to Bill’s Grill, sounded at 5:18 a.m. Michigan State Police troopers found a broken glass door.
Security footage recovered by owner Kevin Wischmeyer showed a bald white man wearing black jeans and a jacket with a bandana over his face entering the store.
A police radio broadcast came out with the description. Coldwater Police Sgt. Matt Schoenauer identified the suspect as Sowards.
The CPD arrested Sowards on Friday on an arrest warrant that District Judge Brent Weigle issued for a breach of bail in ongoing domestic violence cases.
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Stempien said since the prison refused to take Sowards, he was released.
Undersheriff Keith Eichler said Tuesday that a warrant was issued for Sowards on Feb. 5. Coldwater Police have had extensive contact with him. On Friday, CPD agents attempted to lodge him for non-appearance. Eichler said if he had been told it was for domestic violence, he would have been housed.
The MSP K-9 unit followed the suspect from the golf course on Narrows Road. The dog lost track, but a motorist told troopers he picked up the bald white male near Burch Road and dropped him off at the Shell gas station at US 12 and Western Avenue.
Officers spotted him next to Biggby Coffee. He wore the same clothes in the video. The tread of his boots matched that of the golf course.
K-9 located a backpack with the bandana. Sowards had $177 on him. The cash register was stolen, along with $360 in cash inside.
Sowards also faced two domestic violence charges against the mother of his two children on December 19 and July 14. He is also accused of dragging a woman onto the sidewalk near Snyder’s Laundry on Oct. 1.
Sowards also faces charges of retail theft and receiving and concealing stolen property in other district court cases.
February 24 has been set for a probable cause hearing. His preliminary examination is scheduled for March 3.