Guilty plea made in Grain ‘N’ Grape case

ESCANABA – A Gladstone man will be sentenced in July on one count of lying to police while investigating a larceny at The Grain ‘N’ Grape convenience store last summer.

Cory Michael Vanderlinden, 26, pleaded guilty to the two-year felony during a hearing in Delta County Circuit Court on Friday. He will be sentenced on July 2.

In exchange for his guilty plea to one count of lying to police investigating a felony, the prosecution agreed to dismiss a habitual offender charge against the defendant.

Vanderlinden, along with co-defendants Annaelise Marie Ambrose, 22, and Abby Beth Johnson, 21, both of Escanaba, were arrested earlier this year following an intensive investigation into an Aug. 3, 2012, incident at the convenience store located at 6998 U.S.2/41 & M-35.

Ambrose, the store clerk, claimed she was robbed at gunpoint by a masked man who demanded money and then fled the business. After receiving a tip on the alleged robbery, Ambrose was arrested for lying to police.

Ambrose was bound over to circuit court where she may plead or go to trial. She is charged with larceny in a building, aid & abet; conspiracy to commit larceny in a building; and lying to a police officer during investigation of a violent crime. Each felony carries a maximum punishment of four years in prison.

Ambrose’s case is scheduled for a pretrial conference in circuit court on June 14. She is currently free on bond after posting $5,000, or 10 percent of a $50,000 cash bond.

Johnson was sentenced last month to a year in jail for her role in the conspiracy to commit larceny at the convenience store.

The three were arrested on Feb. 7 after the Delta County Sheriff Department received a tip on the above incident through the Crimestoppers website.

During Friday’s court hearing, Vanderlinden’s $50,000 cash bond was reduced to a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, allowing him to be released from jail with restrictions.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,