A man charged with breaking into the Scorpions Motorcycle Club headquarters in Lyon Township is undergoing a competency exam as club members are still waiting to rebuild after a fire that heavily damaged their building.
Kinley Rae-John Kelm, 39, has been arraigned in 52-1 District Court in Novi on charges of breaking and entering with intent; two counts of larceny of firearms; one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm; and felony firearm.
At this time, no one has been charged with setting the fire that heavily damaged the Scorpions' headquarters, located on Milford Road north of 10 Mile, at the same time as the break-in during the early hours of Sept. 22. The fire was ruled arson after the police investigation.
A Bobcat belonging to a fence company working a project at the nearby War Dog Memorial was apparently stolen, driven to the motorcycle club and used to crash through the the clubhouse wall and move a large safe.
A not guilty plea was entered for Kelm, who was referred to the forensic center for a competency evaluation. The competency hearing has been scheduled for April 11 before Judge Travis Reeds.
The Scorpions Motorcycle Club house after a fire last fall. (Photo: Lyon Township Fire Department)
Kelm, who was paroled in July 2016 and to remain under supervision of the Michigan Department of Corrections until September 2018, was also being held for a possible parole violation. According to the Department of Corrections, Kelm had been sentenced to prison for larceny, breaking and entering and vehicle theft. There was a delay in his being charged in the motorcycle club case while he was in the custody of the Ohio Department of Corrections.
Meanwhile, the Scorpions have been unable to rebuild their clubhouse due to problems in getting their insurance payment, club president Chris Page said, despite the police investigation finding no one from the club had any involvement with the arson.
"The building is just like it was when it burned. We were cleared by the cops and fire department. We had nothing to do with it (the fire). We've got attorneys involved," Page said. "We fixed up the garage — we went old-school — for meetings and to hang out. We'll start rebuilding in the spring."
Club members located a suspect in the break-in, identified him and contacted police, Page said.
"He was wearing one of the shirts from a locker (inside the clubhouse) walking around in downtown South Lyon at a cancer run," Page said. "He was asked where he had gotten the shirt and said he was a club member from Texas who had just moved here."
It was unclear why the motorcycle club was targeted, although there was a large safe inside. Page had estimated that there was only about $150 in the safe.
"We had a big party (pig roast) three weeks earlier. There were lawn chairs, camping gear and coolers stolen," he said.