Lottery-winning couple in Michigan charged in string of robberies

Stephanie Harvell and Mitchell Arnswal won $500,000 in 2016 on the day they were served an eviction notice.
Image: Stephanie Harvell and Mitchell Arnswald
Stephanie Harvell and Mitchell Arnswald.Michigan Lottery

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By Ben Kesslen

When a Michigan couple won $500,000 from a lottery scratch-off in 2016, they said they wanted to turn their life around. They apparently did, but in the wrong direction.

The couple, Stephanie Harvell, 28, and Mitchell Arnswald, were charged in a string of burglaries over the weekend, and police said they are suspected of breaking into several houses in the Bay County area in the last two months, often during the day while the homeowners were at work.

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Harvell told the Michigan Lottery in 2016 that the day she won the lottery, she was also served with an eviction notice. She and Arnswald had been living paycheck to paycheck.

“We both work really hard, and it’s been tough to support our family,” Harvell said at the time. “We recently lost a car."

Harvell said she and her husband planned to buy a house and car with the new money, and save for her two daughters’ education.

Instead, Harvell and Arnswald were charged with home invasion and possession of burglary tools on Friday, Bay County Sheriff Troy Cunningham said.

The couple was arrested Thursday after allegedly breaking into a home in Merritt Township, 110 miles north of Detroit. Cunningham said that after the arrest, police searched the couple's car and home and found items believed to be reported missing from recent robberies. Just before the couple was caught, they had purchased crowbars and rubber gloves, the sheriff said.

The couple did not have legal representation yet, according to The Associated Press, and both were being held in jail.