ZEELAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Detectives say an Ottawa County woman broke into a foreclosed house that her husband was supposed to be inspecting. Now, she's expected to face a home invasion charge.
The break-in happened in May 2012, authorities said, on the same day someone from inspection company P&P Services was supposed to be at the Zeeland Township house.
The inspection report shows the house was vacant -- but that's wrong.
"The house was in foreclosure due to financial difficulties," said Christopher Smith, who was still living in the Byron Road house during a redemption period after a sheriff's sale. "I was losing my house that I've lived in since '96. Its the house my kids were raised in. So yeah, it was a very emotional time."
He said he was at work when someone stole $7,000 worth of stuff.
"I was at one of the lowest points in my life, and they decided to steal the little bit of things I had left," he said.
Detectives say Kelli Jo Pennell went to the foreclosed house with her then-fiance, who was doing the foreclosure inspection.
Investigators said they broke the case because of cat food.
"We were walking the yard and noticed the cat food cans all over the ground, which was really strange," said Smith.
Detectives tracked the cat food and found the suspect through a grocery store membership card. She said she bought the food for some kittens at the foreclosed house.
Investigators said they found Pennell's fingerprints inside the foreclosed house, and when they executed a search warrant at her house, they found a stolen DVD player.
Pennell was arrested Jan. 31 on a charge of second-degree home invasion. She is due in court next week to face the charge.
It's still possible that her husband could also be charged.
The husband's father owns P&P Services, which the sheriff's department says is an otherwise legitimate company.
The owner of P&P told 24 Hour News 8 via phone that he first heard about this arrests from 24 Hour News 8. He said he does not condone any employees taking anything.
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