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Couple who won $500,000 lottery runs out of luck, accused of home invasion spree, owe thousands in property taxes

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Bay City, MI — Three years ago, a married couple won a half-million dollars and bought a house in Bay County’s Bangor Township. Now, as they stand accused of going on a multicounty burglary spree, records show they also owe thousands in back property taxes on their home.

Stephanie D. Harvell, 28, in January 2016 won $500,000 on a $5 “Hot Ticket” scratch-off ticket from the Michigan Lottery. A few months later, husband Mitchell T. Arnswald on May 6, 2016, bought a house on Lauria Road in Bangor Township for $80,000, records show.

Arnswald, 29, owes delinquent property taxes for 2016, 2017, and 2018 totaling $4,863.50, according to the Bay County Treasurer’s Office. Arnswald on March 21, 2019, filed a hardship agreement with the county, agreeing to make monthly payments of $60.

He did not make a single payment, records indicate.

If the delinquent taxes aren’t paid by March 31, 2020, the county could foreclose on the property.

Arnswald and Harvell wed in December 2015.

According to her Facebook page, Harvell is a stay-at-home mom who most recently worked as a bartender and server at Bay View Bar, 3008 Patterson Road in Bangor Township. Management there confirmed she had been fired four or five months ago.

The same day Arnswald filed his hardship agreement, he posted on his Facebook page that he was looking for work.

“Anyone needing some professional flooring or painting done, or really anything for that matter let me know,” he wrote. “Or if you know anyone or anywhere hiring please don’t hesitate to let me know just started working for myself but I’ll get it $$$ anywhere I can, im not racist lol. Plus its inconsistent! Thank you in advance.”

Bay County Sheriff Troy R. Cunningham has said Harvell and Arnswald are suspects in numerous daytime home invasions in Bay, Arenac, Saginaw, Midland, and Tuscola counties going back about two months. A task force comprising police investigators from all five counties was investigating the burglaries and generated a description of a suspect vehicle.

The afternoon Aug. 29, a home in the 500 block of South Farley Road in Merritt Township was burglarized and investigating deputies shortly thereafter found a Ford SUV matching the suspect vehicle description at the Meijer at 595 N. Pine Road in Hampton Township. Deputies staked out the unoccupied SUV until Harvell and Arnswald exited the Meijer, returned to it, and started driving away, Cunningham said.

Deputies pulled over the SUV and arrested Arnswald and Harvell without incident. In the vehicle, deputies found a safe, a jewelry box and other items reported stolen from the Merritt Township house.

Deputies also found just-purchased crowbars and rubber gloves, Cunningham said.

Though the couple’s two daughters were not in the SUV at the time, deputies contacted Child Protective Services. CPS is currently involved in the children’s welfare and safe-being, the sheriff said.

Harvell and Arnswald are each charged in Bay County District Court with single counts of second-degree home invasion and possession of burglary tools. The charges are 15- and 10-year felonies, respectively.

The arraigning judge set both of their bonds at $50,000 cash-surety, which neither had posted as of Wednesday.

The pair requested court-appointed attorneys.

Cunningham said he anticipates more charges will be filed as the investigation continues.

Arnswald and Harvell are to appear for a preliminary examination Sept. 18.

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