PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has been charged with breaking into a home north of Grand Rapids, choking the homeowner and robbing her before leaving her tied up for more than two hours.
On Monday, 54-year-old Frank Youmans from the Ada area was charged with armed robbery, first-degree home invasion, unlawful imprisonment, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation and two counts of felony firearm.
The charges stem from a break-in that happened Friday morning. A 65-year-old woman was found tied up in her home in the area of Van Dam Drive and Packer Drive in Plainfield Township when an acquaintance arrived to meet her around 10 a.m.
“What a blessing that somebody was coming to the home because if nobody was coming to the home, she would’ve had no recourse to get loose at that point,” Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young told News 8 Monday.
The sheriff’s office said the suspect, later identified as Youmans, broke into the home with a pistol two to three hours before the woman was found. He claimed to be a “hit man” and threatened to kill her. At one point, he choked the woman until she lost consciousness.
Before leaving the home, Youmans stole credit cards and some cash, investigators said. The sheriff’s office said he later used the credit cards at a nearby store.
“We generally don’t see these kinds of personal attacks in homes while people are present,” LaJoye-Young said. “It’s a very non-typical thing that somebody would break into a home with somebody’s present. They generally will try to do it when the house is empty if they’re trying to gain belongings. So this is a very personal crime when somebody does this and we’re pursuing it as such.”
Investigators quickly determined that it was a targeted break-in.
“(The suspect) appears to have knowledge of the family and a connection to the family, but that’s all I can say right now,” LaJoye-Young said.
Her investigators identified Youmans as their suspect and his vehicle and issued a statewide bulletin, asking other agencies to help find him.
“We communicate because that’s how we all serve our communities the best,” LaJoye-Young said. “We can’t all go outside of our boundaries to look at every detail, but when we engage the help of others, force multiplies.”
The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office found the vehicle abandoned on a two-track. LaJoye-Young said she could not yet speak to how it ended up there.
She did say that her detectives had information Youmans was still in the Kent County area. On Sunday, deputies found him walking near the intersection of Knapp Street and Pettis Avenue east of Grand Rapids and arrested him.
The sheriff said the victim was doing OK, though she was still feeling the residual physical effects of the choking and the trauma of the break-in. She was being supported by friends and victim advocates.
“I can only imagine how terrifying this would be and how vulnerable she must have felt in this circumstance,” LaJoye-Young said. “We’re very happy that we had some very dedicated detectives that worked hard to put this suspect in custody, to comfort her to know that she’s safe, and comfort her neighbors to make sure that they know this wasn’t just a random attack in this neighborhood.”
Police and Kent County court records show that in 1998, Youmans pleaded guilty to home invasion and two counts of assault. He was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for the 1998 case but was out by the spring of 2006, when his next criminal charges show up. Michigan State Police records show his criminal history, which dates back to 1988, also includes convictions for attempted fraud, receiving and concealing stolen property, armed robbery, drug possession and fleeing police.
On Monday, his bond was set at $1 million. He’s scheduled to be back in court on April 5. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
LaJoye-Young asked the community to support the woman as she recovers from the attack.
“I can only imagine what this woman felt being attacked in her own home,” the sheriff said. “Our hearts go out to her.”
— News 8’s Byron Tollefson contributed to this report.