Cedar Springs suspects in soldier memorial theft charged

Justin Rossman
A 2015 mug shot of Justin Rossman. (Michigan Department of Corrections)

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two of three people accused of targeting a fallen soldier memorial during a series of thefts in Cedar Springs have been formally charged.

David Sommerville, 17, and 27-year-old Justin Rossman, both of Cedar Springs, were arraigned Friday one count each of concealing stolen property worth more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and possible fines.

A third suspect, a 20-year-old Cedar Springs man, has not yet been charged.

Cedar Springs, Spc. Timothy Brown, memorial, vandalized
The vandalized memorial to Spc. Timothy Brown in Cedar Springs. (Oct. 24, 2016)

Deputies believe the trio stole a replica rifle, dog tags and helmet from a bronze memorial dedicated to Michigan National Guard Spc. Timothy Brown, who was killed while serving in Iraq.

Authorities say the suspects are also responsible for vandalizing the concession stand at Cedar Springs’ Skinner Field late last week and for stealing from cars around town.

Authorities say all pieces of the memorial were recovered and are intact. Items from the concession stand have also been returned.

timothy brown memorial, cedar springs
A Kent County sheriff’s deputy holds the recovered pieces of Spc. Timothy Brown’s memorial. (Courtesy the Kent County Sheriff’s Department/Facebook – Oct. 27, 2016)

Authorities said media coverage prompted tips that led to the trio’s arrests. Investigators said they found the stolen items while searching a property in the 100 block of E. Muskegon Street. Sommerville and the other unnamed suspect were arrested there.

Detectives arrested Rossman at Red Flannel Acres apartments on Oak Street.