Articles Posted in Theft and Property Crimes

On Tuesday, October 6, two men were allegedly shoplifting at a Home Depot in Auburn Hills when a customer who was permitted to carry a concealed firearm shot out a tire of the men’s getaway vehicle, a Kia SUV. While the woman had not been charged with a crime at the time of news reports, the two men had been taken into custody. According to, it is likely the men will be charged with first-degree felony retail fraud. iStock_000018331817_Full (2)

On Friday, October 9, Auburn Police Lt. Jill McDonnell announced the two were in custody. While the men were not named, it is known they are both from the Flint area, and are 52 and 46 years old. On Wednesday, police released surveillance video which helped them locate the getaway vehicle at the home of the 46-year-old suspect.

An updated news report at The Oakland Press revealed on October 13 that the 46-year-old woman who fired at the suspects’ vehicle in the parking lot, Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez, has now been arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless use, handing, or discharge of a firearm. If found guilty, she could face a fine and/or up to 90 days in jail.

The two men are accused of stealing goods from the store with a combined value of more than $1,000. If found guilty of first-degree retail fraud, each could face up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Theft crimes are punished harshly, as indicated by the possible sentence the two men may face if convicted. Duva-Rodriguez reportedly fired a pistol after witnessing an employee chase the two men, who had left the store with a cart full of merchandise without paying. Authorities claim that although she was trying to be a good Samaritan, firing the 9 mm handgun in the parking lot could have ended tragically had the bullet ricocheted or fragmented.

Anyone who is charged with a criminal offense regardless of how minor or serious it may seem should consult with a seasoned Michigan criminal defense attorney. Even those crimes charged as a misdemeanor can leave someone facing up to one year in county jail; more serious crimes can result in decades or even life in prison, along with other punishment. For the best possible results and to protect your legal rights, obtain legal guidance and support immediately.

Recently, a man who employees believe was wearing a gas mask robbed a Little Caesars Pizza restaurant in north Lansing. According to news reports, the suspect pulled out a handgun and demanded money, which he was given. The incident occurred around 7 p.m. on Wednesday September 30. pizza-1327877

No one was injured in the armed robbery, and the suspect was believed to have fled the scene in a vehicle. At the time of news reports, the suspect was still at large. However, police say the man had some features that were distinguishing, including tattoos on the top of both of his hands. He is described as a black man in his 20’s, approximately 6′ tall and thinly built. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was wearing blue jeans and a dark colored zip-up hoodie.

Although the suspect had fled by the time police arrived on the scene, a K-9 tracking team was brought in in an effort to track down the suspect, to no avail. Lansing police Public Information Officer Robert Merritt said the same Little Caesars location was robbed in March, however they do not believe the two incidents are related.

Armed robbery is an extremely serious crime. Those charged with this offense in Michigan may face penalties which include a life prison term if found guilty. At the very least, an individual convicted of armed robbery will be sentenced to two years in prison. In Michigan, a person does not actually have to possess a gun or firearm to be charged with armed robbery; if he/she even insinuates a weapon is present, it could result in armed robbery charges.

In order to obtain the best possible outcome when facing serious criminal charges, it is critical to work with a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will make sure your legal rights are protected, investigate the charges against you, examine the evidence, and work to develop a solid and effective defense strategy should your case go to trial. In some cases, it may be possible to have charges dismissed or reduced, so that the damage to the defendant’s life and future may be minimized.

On September 17, two women, both grandmothers, were carjacked at Detroit’s Motor City Casino according to a recent article at The women, one from Sterling Heights and one from Clinton Township, were 68 and 78 years old respectively. Their names were not mentioned in the news article. slot-machines-1571555

The suspect, 49-year-old Wayne Darrell Jones, was arrested on September 21. The Wayne County Prosecutors Office said in a statement on the day Jones was arrested that he got into the vehicle with the two victims at about 5:30 a.m. on the day of the crime, pulled out a hand gun, took the women’s purses, and demanded money. He then ordered the younger of the two women to drive the car; when they reached the area of Appoline Street and Schoolcraft where a field was located, he forced the two victims out of the car and drove away. Police claim the victims were helped by a good Samaritan after walking two miles.

Jones was arrested and charged with two counts each of armed robbery, carjacking, felony firearm possession, and unlawful imprisonment. At his arraignment hearing on the 21st, bond was set at $100,000.

In the state of Michigan, an individual found guilty of carjacking could face a life prison term. Many who are charged with carjacking are also charged with kidnapping, another offense that may result in life in prison, along with fines of up to $50,000 under Michigan Penal Code 750.349. Regardless of the charges you face, if accused of carjacking you must work with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney who will protect your legal rights, explore all possible legal options, and work to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. This is a serious crime that requires serious legal representation.

Approximately two weeks ago, a 23-year-old Metro Detroit man was arrested for allegedly robbing a South Lyon credit union, getting away with about $9,000 according to the Washington Post. Brian Randolph told detectives that he robbed the bank to pay for cancer treatment for his one-year-old daughter, and that he had recently lost insurance coverage. Randolph has no felony criminal history, according to authorities. us-currency-4-1007270-m

At the time of news reports in late August, Randolph was being held on a $500,000 bond after appearing on armed robbery and bank robbery charges. If convicted of the charges against him, he could face life in prison.

The suspect went into Vibe Credit Union on August 12 and proceeded to give a teller a note indicating that he was carrying a gun, and that he wanted $20,000. Police say the teller gave Randolph approximately $9,000 in cash. South Lyon Police Lt. Chris Sovik stated that a gun was never displayed during the robbery, and that police did not locate a gun.

Authorities said a Facebook tip led to the suspect’s arrest.

Randolph told police that he spent $1,500 of the cash he stole on rent payments; authorities also stated that a “large portion” of the money was found inside Randolph’s rental car, along with purchases from H & M and Gucci. The Post questioned Lt. Sovik via email regarding whether Randolph’s daughter did indeed have cancer, to which he replied, “from what we understand, she does. He (Randolph) indicated that he robbed the bank to help pay for cancer treatments.”

Regardless of the reason, Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that if found guilty, Randolph will face serious and life-changing punishment. Armed robbery is a life offense in the state, as are bank, safe, and vault robbery. Bank robbery may be prosecuted at the state or federal level, or both depending on the circumstances. While Randolph may have actually committed the robbery for the sake of his daughter, he may have made a grave mistake that will now cost him his freedom.

If you have been arrested for armed robbery or any criminal offense that involves the taking of property or money that does not belong to you with or without a firearm or weapon, take action immediately to protect your legal rights and freedom. Contact an experienced and capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer who will fight vigorously for the best possible result in your case.

For months, someone has been setting fire to abandoned homes in Saginaw; now, police believe they have their man, although his name cannot be released pending his arraignment. News reports do indicate the suspect is 49 years old, and police along with residents are relieved to get the man police are calling a “serial arsonist” off the streets. 1209539_lighting_a_match_2

Following police interviews with the suspect, Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser said the man is responsible for at least 14 of the fires that have occurred in recent months. He also said that the interviews did not reveal why the man set the fires, and no motive can be determined.

How did police catch the suspect? According to Kaiser, police set up on various homes in Saginaw on Tuesday the 18th anticipating the man would return to the scene of the crimes. Police were in luck; the suspect did return to a house that had been set on fire in the past. He was holding a cup police believed was filled with accelerant. Police say he struck again, and police confronted the man as he was walking away from the scene. The suspect dropped the cup, and police took him into custody. Meanwhile, the home the suspect had returned to had a porch that was noticed to be in flames by other officers.

Although it has not been revealed how police connected the suspect to many of the other recent fires in abandoned homes in Saginaw, he has been placed in the Saginaw County Jail. Police have recommended prosecutors charge the suspect with three counts of third-degree arson, and three counts of preparation to burn.

Third-degree arson is a felony involving the malicious or willful burning of and building/structure or the contents of a structure, any personal property with a value of $20,000 or more, or for anyone with a prior conviction for arson, any personal property valued at $1,000 or more. The criminal penalties for a conviction include a fine of $20,000 or up to three times the value of the destroyed property, and/or a maximum of 10 years in prison.

As you can see, the punishment for an arson conviction is severe and even life-changing. If found guilty, you will lose your freedom and likely face ruin of your reputation and career. Anyone who is arrested or under investigation for an arson crime should consult with a highly qualified Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately in an effort to protect your freedom and future.

In December of last year, a 15-year-old Bangor Township teen called 911 to report he had been robbed of his iPhone, a phone he had listed for sale on Craigslist; he wall allegedly robbed at gunpoint. smart-phone-icon-1377498-m

Deputies were told by the teen that he had put an ad on Craigslist to sell his Apple iPhone 6 for $600, and that about a week later he received a text indicating interest in the iPhone from an 810 area code. The teen and the interested party made a deal for $550, and the buyer called the boy from the same number to get directions to his home.

A car soon arrived at the teen’s home, carrying two men and a woman. The teen was told to get in the car as he approached the driver’s side, however he refused. The driver used the excuse that they needed him to direct them to a station nearby so they could get gas, however he did not get into the vehicle. He gave the iPhone to a male in the front passenger seat, at which point what looked to the teen to be a semi-automatic handgun was pulled on him. Court records indicated that the passenger threatened to shoot the teen if he “tried anything.” The vehicle then left.

The 810 phone number the teen had received the text and calls from was tracked to 21-year-old Darren J. McCaskey Jr., a resident of Flint. He admitted to being present during the robbery, but said that a friend actually committed the crime, that the friend was on parole and the gun was a toy the passenger tossed out along Interstate 75. The friend said he was not present; upon looking at a photo lineup provided by investigators, the teen identified McCaskey as the robber.

McCaskey was arrested recently and appeared in court for his arraignment on July 8. He has been charged with one count of armed robbery, a crime punishable by up to life in prison for those convicted. McCaskey’s preliminary examination is scheduled for July 22 before District Judge Timothy J. Kelly.

Regardless of whether the weapon allegedly used to intimidate the teen in this case was authentic or a toy, individuals may be charged with armed robbery for even insinuating the presence of a weapon whether or not one was actually present. Even using a finger in a pocket to make it look like a gun can leave you facing serious felony charges. Armed robbery is one of the most serious crimes someone can be accused of, as the penalties are as serious as those often handed down for murder.

If you have been arrested for any type of theft or are under investigation, waste no time before consulting with a qualified Michigan criminal defense attorney. Your legal rights and freedom must be protected; your future, career, and reputation may be at risk, so take action immediately.

In October of this year, 32-year-old Jeffery Scott TenElshof of Jenison pleaded guilty to two counts of larceny by conversion of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000. On Thursday December 18, he unsuccessfully attempted to withdraw his guilty pleas at his sentencing hearing before Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock. wheelchair-ramp-192499-m

TenElshof was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for taking money for construction projects, but never completing the jobs. Hi attorney contends that TenElshof simply got behind on the projects as he was extremely busy, and that his intention was never to steal the money clients paid him. One Sand Lake resident paid TenElshof $3,500 to replace some siding on her home, a project that was never completed, according to Colleen Bent, who said TenElshof came up with all kinds of excuses as to why he was not working on the project.

According to Gregory Boer, Assistant Kent County Prosecutor, TenElshof had a plea deal that would have left him facing less than one year in jail had he repaid the money that he stole to the clients. Because he did not repay any of the money, he was sentenced to prison.

According to a news article at, TenElshof is facing charges in Grand Rapids, Hudsonville, and also has charges pending in Ottawa and Kent Counties. He is also a convicted sex offender, according to the news article. Because of his growing criminal record, the additional charges the defendant faces could leave him facing up to life in prison if convicted, because he would be classified as a fourth-felony offender.

Michigan criminal defense attorneys are aware that for some people, it seems like staying out of trouble with the law is impossible. However, many people find themselves in situations that evolve into a criminal offense, never intending to break the law. In addition, it is not at all uncommon for someone to be charged with a crime he or she did not commit. Regardless of the situation, no one wants to face ruin of their reputation, possible jail time, fines, and other punishment. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, consult with an aggressive and skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Recently, the FBI has requested the public’s help in identifying a man who is suspected of robbing a TCF Bank branch in Lathrup. According to a news report at CBS Detroit, the agency is offering a $1,500 reward for information which may lead to the arrest and conviction of the man, who robbed the bank on October 6 just after 10 a.m. safe-piggy-bank-1105756-m

The man, according to reports, is described as a black man who was wearing sunglasses, gloves, dark pants, and a hoodie described as a Champion brand at the time of the robbery. He was also wearing a piece of white tape on his nose. The man implied that he possessed a gun, and demanded that a teller give him money. The amount of money the robber escaped with was not revealed in news reports.

Witnesses said that the car the suspect fled the scene in was an older model vehicle with damage on the front end, possibly a Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable that is white in color with a white passenger-side mirror and dark driver-side mirror. Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 248-557-3600 or the FBI at 313-965-2323.

While the amount of money stolen from the bank was not disclosed, bank robbery is a very serious crime – a federal crime. Michigan criminal defense lawyers know that those found guilty of robbing a bank face serious criminal penalties. Whether or not the suspect in this case actually had a gun makes no difference; the fact that he implied that he did makes the situation even more serious.

In Michigan, armed robbery is a serious offense. While the maximum punishment is life in prison, even first-time offenders will face a prison sentence and other penalties. Those who have a prior criminal record involving a felony offense will face harsher punishment.

Without a seasoned Michigan criminal defense attorney, the suspect in this case, when caught, will likely face consequences that will change his life forever. Anyone who is arrested or charged with robbing a bank, armed or unarmed robbery, or even carjacking must take action immediately and contact a defense lawyer who will work vigorously in pursuit of the best possible result.

On May 16, Devontea Clifford Evans was admiring a $10,000 diamond ring in a Kentwood Zales Jewelry store located in Woodland Mall when according to police, Evans and the ring disappeared. Evans, who is 23 years old, denied having the ring when he was apprehended in the parking lot by mall security guards. mias-ring-2-208386-m

After reviewing video camera footage of the parking lot and mall on which it appeared Evans swallowed the ring, the suspect was taken to the Kent County Jail. After some careful consideration about how corrections officers could retrieve the diamond ring, a search performed on Evans a bit later revealed the ring was in his pants – which led to officers suspecting that the ring may have been hidden in another orifice.

Wherever the ring was ultimately hidden, Evans now faces charges of first-degree retail fraud as a third-felony offender. A resident of Hazel Park, Evans allegedly has a long criminal record in both Detroit and New Jersey, and is wanted on a warrant in Detroit. If tried as a third-felony offender, Evans will face up to 10 years in prison. The prosecutor’s office has offered Evans the opportunity to plea as a second-felony offender, which would decrease prison time to a maximum of 7 1/2 years.

In Michigan, first-degree retail fraud involves the theft of merchandise valued at more than $1,000. Theft can occur not only by an individual physically taking an item, but also by altering the price tag of an item in some way so as not to pay the full price. Theft or retail fraud can also be accomplished by taking a product back for a refund or exchange when it was never paid for initially, and the product still belongs to the store.

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Five people were recently arrested in what Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard called “the largest retail theft ring” he had even seen.  The theft ring, which investigators initially thought involved drugs, turned out to be related to the theft of almost $3 million in stolen goods including Victoria’s Secret lingerie, according to a news article at

Investigators received a tip regarding what was believed to be a theft ring involving methamphetamine.  What investigators found upon investigating the tip included 10 trailers filled with stolen merchandise at a warehouse in Hazel Park.

Bouchard said that the well-organized crime syndicate appeared to be doing very well, and had been operating for years.  According to Bouchard, the theft ring had used about $200,000 in illegal proceeds to invest in the purchase of the warehouse, a transaction that took place about nine months ago. Continue reading