Dad faces charges for storing pieces taken from Cedar Springs war memorial

CEDAR SPRINGS, MICH. - A man whose shed was used to hide a bronze helmet and rifle stolen from a Cedar Springs war memorial has been charged with receiving and concealing stolen property.

He’s also the father of a young man arrested last week for breaking into a concession stand at Skinner Field. Police say the break-in and vandalism at Memorial Park are related.

Tracy Lyn Coleman, 45, was arrested after Kent County sheriff’s deputies found on his property pieces of the vandalized Operation Iraqi Freedom-Operation Enduring Freedom memorial honoring SPC. Timothy D. Brown.

The 23-year-old Cedar Springs graduate died Nov. 4, 2005, during military operations in Iraq. About $10,000 in donations was raised to build the memorial.

The rifle and helmet were found by deputies investigating several break-ins, including one Oct. 21 at a concession building at Skinner Field. The memorial was vandalized the following day.

The search took them to Coleman’s home on East Muskegon Street, a few blocks from the damaged memorial. He shared the home with his son, 20-year-old Austin Lee Coleman. The younger Coleman is one of three people charged with breaking into the concession building.

Tracy Coleman “admitted to knowing the rifle was stored in his shed,’’ Kent County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Hopkins wrote in a probable cause affidavit.

Coleman told one of his co-defendants "to get it out of there because he did not want it in there,'' court records show.

Authorities charged Justin Lynn Rossman, 27, and David Edgar Sommerville, 17, with receiving and concealing stolen property stemming from the memorial theft. The crime carries a five-year penalty.

The pair, along with Austin Coleman, also are charged with breaking into the concession stand, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Rossman told police that Sommerville stole the rifle and helmet and hid them in the storage shed, court records show.

The four will be back in 63rd District Court next week for a probable cause hearing on the criminal charges. They remain in the Kent County Jail on $50,000 bonds.

If convicted, Tracy Coleman faces more time behind bars because of a 1991 conviction in Mecosta County for assault with a dangerous weapon.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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