2017-09-14 / Courts

Homeless man pleads to breaking, entering

PESSES PESSES A 35-year-old Traverse City man pleaded no contest in 86th District Court on Tuesday to a charge of breaking and entering in connection with a Sept. 5 incident at the Cherry Bend Animal Hospital.

Joseph R. Pesses is being held in the Leelanau County Jail on a 10 percent, $1,500 bond. His sentencing has been set for Sept. 26.

The charge stems from a call made about 7:30 a.m. from the Elmwood Township animal hospital, when employees coming into work found a man believed to be Pesses in the upstairs area of the boarding building behind the pet hospital, according to reports from the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office.

Before deputies could get there, Pesses left the hospital riding a bicycle, the report said, but not before a quick-thinking employee snapped a picture of him riding away.

Pesses was believed to be homeless, leading the Sheriff’s Office to post the picture on its Facebook site. The post said he may be spotted riding his bike around the Greilickville area.

One of the employees also knew Pesses and identified him to deputies, the report said.

After getting several solid tips, including an eyewitness report from someone who knew Pesses in the past, the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office identified the man by name on its Facebook site.

“We knew that this was not the first time that he had been in there and we weren’t sure if he was going to do this again at this business or another business,” said Undersheriff Steve Morgan.

Suspects are not usually identified by the Sheriff’s Office until they have been arraigned in court.

“We’re usually very cautious, as sometimes the charges change or the charges aren’t authorized,” Morgan said. “In this case we knew that we had the right guy and we knew we were going to get the charges authorized.”

Grand Traverse County deputies located Pesses when called to a complaint at the Walmart Store in Garfield Township. Pesses was arrested on a warrant issued by the Leelanau County Prosecutor’s Office.

He was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office and lodged in jail.

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