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Published: Saturday, 4/30/2005

Michigan couple are suspects in break-ins

HILLSDALE - Michigan State Police believe that a Jackson, Mich., couple arraigned yesterday in Hillsdale County on multiple felony charges may be responsible for more than 200 residential break-ins during the last six months in six counties.

Tracy D. Ott, 23, and his alleged accomplice, Brein M. Smith, 23, were arraigned on six counts each of home invasion, second degree yesterday before Judge Donald Sanderson in the county's 2nd District Court.

Mr. Ott was being held in the county jail in lieu of $30,000 bond. Ms. Smith was released yesterday on a $30,000 personal recognizance bond, court officials said.

The two suspects were arrested Thursday after three months of what officials at the state police post in Jonesville called "extensive investigation" by officers from more than 25 local agencies in Hillsdale, Lenawee, and four other south-central Michigan counties.

The suspects, who were seen entering several homes while under surveillance, left large items, such as televisions, untouched in the homes they broke into, and instead concentrated on smaller items, such as jewelry and cash, troopers said.

Troopers are continuing to investigate how the suspects got rid of the items.

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