Man charged in theft from safe
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | March 26,2013
A Brandon man is charged with stealing money from his next door neighbor’s safe to fund improvements to a mobile home.
Michael Goodwin, 35, of Barlow Avenue, is facing felony charges of burglary and grand larceny along with a misdemeanor charge of driving without a license. The latter charge stems from a separate incident.
If convicted, Goodwin could face a maximum of 27 years in prison and $11,000 in fines. Goodwin is being held at the Springfield prison.
Brandon Police said Steven Bissette, who lives next door to Goodwin and whose niece is married to him, contacted them in October after coming home and opening his safe emptied of cash. While he initially said the safe had contained about $6,000, police said Bissette revised that total to $11,200 after “further accounting.”
Bissette told police the house was frequently empty during the four days before he checked the safe and police said they identified Goodwin, who has multiple convictions including on burglary and larceny charges, as a suspect. Goodwin denied any involvement when police spoke to him in November, according to court records.
Police said they spoke to Goodwin about the burglary again in January, following an arrest for driving without a license. This time, Goodwin did not deny the theft but said he needed “more time to think about his situation,” according to affidavits.
Goodwin finally confessed, police said, during a third interview in February.
Goodwin said he had been struggling with money, according to affidavits, and spied the safe one day when he was over for a visit. He said he got into the house using a spare key, police said, “snooped around” until he found the key and combination to the safe and then grabbed $6,400 in cash, leaving some cash in the hope Bissette wouldn’t notice right away.
Goodwin told police he spent $5,000 on a hot water heater, shower stall, flooring and fixtures at a mobile home he was planning to move into, according to affidavits, and the rest on gas, groceries, cigarettes and similar expenses.