— A Michigan man who drove a camper to a campground and then returned it after being charged with theft has pleaded guilty to one felony count of theft.
Matthew C. Brown, 36, of Mecosta pleaded guilty Friday to one count of tampering with or destroying a vehicle or personal property, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Michigan.
Brown admitted that he stole the camper Van Gogh, a Mercedes Camper Van, from a Mecota State College campus in May 2015.
A criminal complaint says Brown parked his van at the campground, which is at the corner of State College Road and Mecos Island Drive, and then used it as a vehicle to camp out at the campsite for three days.
The complaint says the van was parked at the Mecora State College State Recreation Center and Campground, and the camPERVAN was left in a storage locker in the back of the van, which was unlocked.
The van was returned by a camp counselor in the parking lot and had been sitting there since May, the complaint says.
It was found by a woman who had been camping with her husband on the campus in the summer of 2015.
She reported it missing and the camp counselor called the sheriff’s office, according the complaint.
The camp counselor told deputies that Brown’s vehicle had been stolen, according.
Brown was arrested at the site in March, but the complaint does not say when.
Investigators recovered a large cache of items in the van.
They recovered a second camPERVEH, which can be used to lock a vehicle in place, a small pocketknife, a metal container and several pairs of pants and a hat, the criminal complaint said.
They also recovered an iPod charger, a portable speaker and two laptop chargers, according in the complaint, and a laptop, iPhone and iPad charger, among other items.
In court Friday, Brown said he did not know the contents of the stolen vehicle.
“I did not steal it,” Brown said.
“I’m sorry for the loss of your van.
If I had known what happened to your van, I would have locked it up.”