Ohio County sheriff's deputies Tuesday arrested Michael Kandis, the third suspect charged in an 18-month-long burglary spree during which the perpetrators allegedly invaded numerous rural homes.
Ohio County Magistrate Harry Radcliffe arraigned Kandis Wednesday morning on a charge of daytime burglary. The 29-year-old Wheeling resident had yet to post $50,000 bond and remained in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville late Wednesday.
Kandis' alleged accomplices, Chelssee White and Joshua Bowman, reportedly told deputies Kandis was involved in the burglary of Gary Kestner's home in March 2011. The home was empty at the time, as Kestner and his wife were attending his mother-in-law's funeral.
The break-in occurred between 9:30 a.m. and noon that day. Deputies say the burglars forced entry into the home and stole jewelry, electronics and a safe.
According to court documents, Bowman told deputies that Kandis "drove his vehicle to a field near the Kestner's residence and parked. Bowman and (Kandis) then broke into the residence. Bowman stated that he took the jewelry and (Kandis) took the safe from the residence."
White admitted she planned the burglary of the residence and corroborated Bowman's account of the crime, including Kandis' involvement, court documents state.
A preliminary hearing in Kandis' case has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Dec. 21 in front of Magistrate Patty Murphy. Kandis had not yet been appointed an attorney as of late Wednesday.
Sheriff's Sgt. Doug Ernest said Bowman and White were suspected in nearly 30 home invasions in the rural area of the county during the burglary spree. Kandis is suspected of participating in some of those crimes as well, Ernest noted, and more charges may be filed against him.
"It's still an ongoing investigation," the sergeant said. "There is a possibility of (Kandis) being charged with more crimes, depending on what evidence we can develop."
White and Bowman pleaded guilty in Ohio County Circuit Court for their roles in many of the crimes and are currently serving prison terms.