From winning big to behind bars. A Bay County couple scored half a million dollars off a scratch off and now they’re accused of stealing from others.

When Stephanie Harvell and Mitchell Arnswald won that jackpot in 2016, they said they planned to buy a house and a car with their winnings and set up college funds for their daughters.

But it seems their lives may have taken a different turn.

"They must have gone through the money quick or something," said Bay County Sheriff Troy Cunningham.

Investigators said they committed a string of home break ins throughout Mid-Michigan.

Cunningham said he doesn't want to see people who work hard for their money become victims of burglaries. But he says that's exactly what happened in his county, along with Midland, Arenac, Saginaw, and Tuscola counties.

"I think that is about as bad of a crime as we see is the home invasions," Cunningham said.

The burglaries all happened during the day when residents were not home, Cunningham said.

He said when the pair was arrested, authorities found some incriminating evidence.

"Besides having some evidence from the home invasion they'd just done, apparently they had just purchased some crow bars and rubber gloves at the Meijer store," he said.

Cunningham said a task force was formed to find the accused thieves. They got their break on August 29 when someone called police after her home was broken into.

Deputies found their vehicle soon a short time later. Now Arnswald and Harvell are sitting in jail awaiting their next court appearance.

The couple was charged with second-degree home invasion and being in possession of burglary tools.

"This is a great thing when you can catch people like this, because like I said people want to feel safe in their homes, they should feel safe in their homes,” Cunningham said. “And to have people breaking into houses and doing it during the daytime. And a lot of the people were elderly. It was just a great thing that they got caught and taken off the street. It was a good day for law enforcement."

Harvell told Michigan Lottery she and her husband were living paycheck-to-paycheck prior to winning.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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