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Man headed to trial for allegedly falsely accusing police

News File Photo A Michigan State Police cruiser is seen in Alpena in this May 2020 News archive photo.

ALPENA — An Alpena man accused of making false claims against Michigan State Police troopers during the execution of a search warrant has been bound over to circuit court, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Wednesday.

Thomas VanDuinen, 70, of Alpena is charged with three counts of filing a false report of a felony, which is a four-year felony offense, one count of providing a false statement to a police officer, a two-year high misdemeanor, and one count of using of a computer to commit a crime, which is a seven-year felony

In February 2021, the Michigan State Police executed search warrants on VanDuinen’s home and on a pole barn he was renting for his business in Alpena.

Two days after the execution of the search warrants, VanDuinen began filing demands for the return of his property, and then filed lawsuits against the State Police. In his demands and lawsuits, VanDuinen made numerous allegations against the troopers who searched his home and business, accusing them of stealing money and hydrocodone pills and forging signatures on the search warrants that were used to search his properties.

VanDuinen reported those allegations to the State Police 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.

“Law enforcement officers who uphold their duty to serve and protect deserve to be vigorously defended against false accusations,” Nessel said in a news release Wednesday. “I take seriously accusations of misconduct and am committed to thoroughly investigating such claims to ensure the public trust. In this case, Michigan State Police were falsely accused, and the offender will be held accountable.”

The preliminary examination for VanDuinen was held Nov. 21 in the 88th District Court in Alpena before Judge Alan Curtis. After hearing from six witnesses at the preliminary examination, Curtis bound VanDuinen over to the 26th Circuit Court on all five charges, finding sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

A circuit court arraignment date has not yet been scheduled by the court.

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