Man found guilty after lying that Michigan State Police troopers stole money, drugs during search

A northern Michigan man was found guilty of numerous felonies after falsely claiming that police searching his home stole from him and had forged signatures on their warrants.

Michigan State Police searched 71-year-old Thomas VanDuinen's Alpena home and a pole barn he was renting for a business in February 2021. Two days after the search, he began filing reports and demands for the return of his property and then filed a lawsuit against MSP. 

In his reports, demands, and lawsuit, VanDuinen lied, police said, and accused troopers of stealing money and hydrocodone pills. He also claimed that the troopers forged signatures on the search warrants that were used to search his properties. 

VanDuinen reported these allegations to the MSP Professional Standards Section and a criminal investigation was initiated in June 2021. The Michigan Solicitor General authorized the close of the investigation against the troopers in January 2022. 

Read more stories from around Michigan here.

VanDunien was found guilty this week of three counts of false report of a felony, one count of providing a false statement to a police officer, and one count of use of a computer to commit a crime this week. 

"False accusations can be incredibly damaging, and law enforcement officers who dedicate themselves to serving our communities deserve to have their reputations protected from them," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. "I commend the jury for holding Mr. VanDuinen accountable." 

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