5 face trial in assault, gun theft near Bloomingdale

michael bird, leo cottle, caleb johnson, spencer marbley
Left to right: File mug shots of Michael Bird, Leo Cottle, Caleb Johnson and Spencer Marbley.

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Five people will stand trial for allegedly attacking a man in rural Van Buren County in January and stealing his guns.

Spencer Marbley, 23, of Kalamazoo; Leo Cottle, 19, of Kalamazoo; Michael Bird, 19, of Kalamazoo; Jalin Beebe, 19, of Bangor; and Caleb Johnson, 20, of Bloomingdale are charged with armed robbery resulting in serious injury, first-degree home invasion and felony firearm.

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office says the suspects were in court in South Haven on Thursday morning for preliminary examinations and all five were bound over to stand trial.

The robbery and assault happened on Jan. 26 along 41st Street south of 14th Avenue in Bloomingdale Township, south of the village of Bloomingdale. Authorities say a 53-year-old man told them that when he answered a knock at his door, four men forced their way inside and pistol-whipped him in the head. They ordered him at gunpoint to open his safe and then stole several handguns and long guns, as well as cash. The victim said the assault caused him to lose consciousness for about an hour. He sustained lacerations to his face and head and was hospitalized.

The sheriff’s office said its investigators identified persons of interest “almost immediately” and eventually gathered enough evidence to charge them.

The investigation is ongoing and authorities say more arrests may be forthcoming.