New Era man pleads to break-in, gun theft

June 8, 2015
Craig Overla with his attorney, Doug Springstead.

Craig Overla with his attorney, Doug Springstead.

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — A 30-year-old New Era man pleaded “no contest” to one count of breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny and one count of larceny of a firearm Monday, June 8, in 27th Circuit Court.

Craig David Overla pleaded “no contest” to the charges due to “a lack of memory” caused by being under the influence of alcohol and a prescription drug at the time of the offense. Overla was prepared to plead guilty, but Judge Anthony Monton said that due to his “lack of memory,” he would need to enter a “no contest” plea. Overla testified Monday that he only remembered “bits and pieces” of the crime. “I was drunk and on Percocet,” he said.

Overla’s charges stem from a break-in last December that resulted in the theft of a snowmobile, snowmobile trailer, seven guns and many other items.

The snowmobile, the trailer and a few of the other stolen items were recovered outside a residence on Automobile Road in rural Muskegon County. The Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.

Oceana County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a barn and machine repair shop in the 8300 block of South 64th Avenue in Grant Township. Deputies found that two local men had discovered their property had been broken into, and several items were stolen, including:

– a 2011 Ski-doo Renegade 1200 snowmobile

– a snowmobile trailer with custom nose and sides

– a .12 gauge shotgun

– two Ruger 10/22 rifles

– a deer rifle

– a bolt action .22 rifle

– two revolvers, a .22 and a .357

– a self-leveling laser

– a Husqvarna 345 chainsaw

– a Husqvarna 555 chainsaw

– a generator

– a laptop computer.

In exchange for pleading to the first two counts, one count of weapons – firearm possession and one count of felony firearms, along with a fourth-offense habitual offender notice, were dismissed. The breaking and entering charge he pleaded to is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The firearms charge he pleaded to carries a five-year maximum.

A co-defendant in the case has never been identified, Bizon said. “At this point, there is no evidence who it is,” Oceana County Prosecutor Joe Bizon told OCP. “Mr. Overla has not told us.”

As part of the plea deal, Overla’s incarceration will be capped at two years, Bizon said. Overla, who is currently lodged in the Oceana County Jail, is scheduled for sentencing, July 20, at 9 a.m.

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