Prudenville Break-Ins: ‘They Just Cleaned Everybody Out’

"They went from house to house and just cleaned everybody out,” says Ed Wojtan, a break-in victim. “It’s a shame."     

Thieves targeted several homes and broke into them, taking whatever they could find.

Those who live in this community are left asking "Why?"

Roscommon County Sheriff’s Deputies say as many as 13 homeowners could be victims.

State police say the break-in investigation is centered in Denton Township in Roscommon County.

Homeowners say someone forced their way into homes and garages, stealing tools, family heirlooms, even pillows off of beds.

They want anyone to report anything that could help lead them to who is responsible.

"All of the departments are working together to make sure we are all on the same page,” says F/Lt. Josh Lator, Post Commander of the Houghton Lake MSP Post. “We share all the information. We do a thorough investigation together and we move forward. Right now, we are just looking to our citizens to partner with us in getting facts, information or telling us anything they may see going on in the neighborhood."     

Troopers tell us they will release more about the break-ins after each department compares notes, including the Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department, Denton Township Police and State Police.

Some of the homes targeted by thieves are seasonal, but others live in them year-round.

The news of intruders in their community left people nervous.

9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Blakeman met with them in their homes.

They have more details.

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Walls stripped bare of televisions and heirlooms, doors ripped open and no answers as to who is responsible yet…

“Somebody knew what they were doing and I’m not the only one,” says Ed Wojtan, who found his garage and shed broken into on Tuesday. "I don’t get what they were thinking."

Ed Wojtan says he came home from being out of town to a crime scene…

“They really did a number on the garage,” Wojtan says, pointing to a damaged door and an empty tool shelf. “These were all full of screwdrivers. Every single one of them. But they left that and took all the others…they just picked."

He says someone stole his air compressor, chainsaw and hundreds of dollars in tools…

And his family’s boat motor…

“It was my grandfather’s and it’s like a family heirloom,” Wojtan says. “He passed it down to me and that’s what hurts the worst.”

“Here, we had a 40-inch TV there, sound bar,” says Don Kochensparger, who lives two doors down from Wojtan. “They took it all.”

Ed is not alone.

“They took all my mother’s wedding rings, stuff like that that she had passed on to my wife,” Kochensparger says. "Even if I don’t get my stuff back, I just hope they get caught and put a stop to it so nobody else has to go through this, you know?”

Don and his daughter, Abby, say they took his power tools and his father-in-law’s guns.

They didn’t stop there.

“The jewelry box is all emptied out and the pillows were gone off the bed,” Kochensparger says.

“It just hurts,” Abby says. “For them to steal your sense of security, all of your family heirlooms, just to know that somebody’s been through all of your stuff, it’s just terrible."

“It’s really a shame,” Wojtan says. “You work hard and you come up here and they break into your house."

Both Ed and Don are offering $1,000 rewards if someone can help police find the people responsible.