Police: Suspect swiped speaker from car at governor’s residence

Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News
The Michigan governor's residence in Lansing

Lansing – A 24-year-old suspected of breaking into vehicles outside Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state residence was arraigned over the weekend on a felony larceny charge.

Dequinderick Jones of Lansing is suspected of stealing a Bluetooth speaker from a car that belonged to Sherry Whitmer, one of the governor’s daughters, according to 54-A District Court records reviewed by The Detroit News.

Larceny from a motor vehicle is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.  

Dequinderick Jones, 24, is suspected in vehicle break-ins outside Michigan governor's residence.

Jones is also charged with a misdemeanor breaking into a vehicle to steal property worth more than $200 but less than $1,000. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, a $2,000 fine or up to three times the value of the stolen property.

The “security breach” occurred outside the official governor’s residence early Thursday morning, according to Michigan State Police officials, who have said they do not believe the suspect attempted to enter the home. The residence is surrounded by gates and is continually monitored by an armed security detail.

Whitmer, who had lived in nearby East Lansing, moved in when she took office in January. Her former home was recently put up for sale.

Attempts to reach Jones were unsuccessful, and it is not clear if he knew who lived in the home. An attorney representing him in a separate case did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

"Because the suspect is facing charges for this incident, we’re not going to detail any further what exactly what occurred or what he told investigators upon arrest," said state police spokeswoman Shanon Banner.

As the Lansing State Journal first reported, Jones was also arraigned Monday in a  stolen property case in Ingham County court following an arrest by Michigan State University Police.

State records show he spent time in prison in 2017 on a felony conviction for stealing or removing a financial transaction device, such as a credit card.

Bond conditions related to his recent arrest in the governor’s residence case required Jones’ mother to pick him up from jail and take him home, where he must remain except for attorney meetings or medical care.

The governor’s residence, sometimes described as a mansion, is a five-bedroom ranch-style home in Lansing’s Moores River Drive neighborhood. It was donated to the state by previous owners in 1969.

Several governors have lived in the residence, which is less than a 10-minute drive to the Michigan Capitol, but former Gov. Rick Snyder chose to continue living in Ann Arbor and commuted to Lansing.

Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown last week declined comment on the suspected theft but said “certainly, we appreciate MSP’s expertise and quick action,"