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Teen Charged in Easter Church Break-Ins Gets a Chance at Redemption

Logan Gerring, who was part of what police called a “sophisticated” burglary crew tied to Holy Week burglaries and a string of other crimes, was given a second chance under Michigan’s youthful offender law.

Logan Gerring, left, was sentenced this week in a string of church and other burglaries across Macomb County. His co-defendant, Eric Eby, right, was sentenced in November. File photo
Logan Gerring, left, was sentenced this week in a string of church and other burglaries across Macomb County. His co-defendant, Eric Eby, right, was sentenced in November. File photo

The second of two teens charged with breaking into two Macomb County churches after worshippers left Easter Sunday services will get a chance to wipe his record clean after he was sentenced this week in Macomb County Circuit Court, the Macomb Daily reports.

Logan Gerring, 17, of Sterling Heights was sentenced given credit for 47 days spent in the county jail and required to perform 50 hours of community service, but won’t spend additional time in jail. He was placed on probation for three years.

He was sentenced under Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which gives sentencing discretion to judges when they believe youthful offenders can benefit from a second chance. That means that if he successfully completes the program and does not reoffend, his record will be expunged.

‘Mastermind’ Sentenced Last Month

Gerring was part of what police called a “sophisticated” series of robberies across Macomb County that ranged from smash-and-grab to crimes using special equipment to get into safes, radio systems to communicate and documents to disarm alarms.

Police said Gerring and his accomplice, Eric Eby, 19, of Shelby Township, robbed Shelby Township’s St. Therese Lisieux Catholic Church after Easter services on March 31 and St. Luke Lutheran Church in Clinton Township sometime between 1 p.m. that Sunday and 6 a.m. the following Monday.

More than $40,000 was reportedly taken from St. Therese Lisieux, while the amount taken from a safe at St. Luke’s was not disclosed.

After the robberies, the Rev. Larry Zurawksi, the parish priest at St. Therese Lisieux, said he felt “violated.”

“I am relieved they were caught for the safety of everyone in the neighborhood,” Zurawski said after the two were arrested last spring. “I hope they give the things back and don’t do it again and lead a better life.

“Like they said on ‘Dragnet,’ crime doesn’t pay,” the priest said.

For his part in the Holy Week burglaries and other crimes, Eby was sentenced last month to at least three years and not more than 10 in prison after he pleaded guilty to 22 charges, including 14 counts of burglary, two counts of safe-breaking, possession of burglary tools and minor charges, according to a report in the Macomb Daily.

Eby’s attorney, Thomas Thomko, characterized his client’s actions as “mistakes” and pleaded for leniency, but Judge Mary Chrzanowski said his decisions were “calculated.”

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Chrzanowski reportedly said. She compared him to the fictional thieves in “Oceans 11” and said she was impressed by his ability to break into safes. “That’s a mastermind crime,” she said.

Speedway Thefts Gave Police a Break

Gerring and Eby were charged with the church burglaries after police arrested them in connection with a burglary at the Shelby Township Speedway. Eventually, authorities tied them to a dozen other robberies around Macomb County.

"They are a sophisticated crew and we are really happy to get them off the street," Shelby Township Police Chief Roland Woelkers said at the time of their arrests.

Following the arrests, police served search warrants at a storage unit in Shelby Township and the suspects’ parents homes, where they recovered the donation envelopes from the St. Therese Lisieux, St. Luke’s and a third church, St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Utica, where Gerring reportedly worked.

Investigators said the pair did not attempt to cash checks, but saved the donation envelopes. They reportedly went on a spending spree with the cash, buying a number of expensive items, including flying lessons.

"They had a well thought-out plan, they went through and were able to get into the church safes really quickly, said Shelby Police Det. Lt. Thomas Kohl said at the time of their arrests. "They were an established crew. I would have thought this was a lot older individuals."

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