Articles Posted in Theft and Property Crimes

On Thursday January 7, a car that was left running in a driveway in Ypsilanti was stolen according to a news report at Mlive.com. Authorities say the car, a 2005 silver Chevrolet Impala, was at a residence in the 1000 block of Nash Avenue when the incident occurred.

Two unknown suspects were last observed driving the vehicle north on Nash. The car is reported to have a dent in the front driver side quarter panel, and a paper plate in the rear window.

Just two days earlier, a woman left her vehicle running as she went inside a business in Ypsilanti; her vehicle was gone when she returned just 10 minutes later. This incident occurred in the 600 block of East Michigan Avenue. In this case, the vehicle stolen was a 2010 Ford Fusion, gray in color, with damage to the right side of the front bumper. Reports claim the bumper has duct tape on it.

Auto theft or unlawfully driving away an automobile are serious criminal charges. Not only may the person who actually drove away a vehicle belonging to someone else face charges, those who aid in taking a vehicle may be subject to the same harsh penalties if found guilty. In Michigan, a person who is convicted of grand theft auto or unlawfully driving away an automobile may face a substantial number of years in prison (typically up to five years), along with large fines. Even when a person takes someone else’s vehicle and uses it without the intent to steal it, he or she may face up to two years behind bars along with fines of as much as $1,500. In addition to prison/jail time and fines, those found guilty will have a permanent criminal record.

When facing auto theft charges, it is vital to work with a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney who will provide legal guidance and support, helping you avoid serious punishment. There are legal options in most cases; some defendants choose to accept a plea deal, in essence pleading guilty to a lesser offense in order to escape the most serious punishment. Depending on the evidence and other factors, it may be possible to have charges dismissed. Regardless of the circumstances, it is vital to protect your future, reputation, and freedom by working with a capable, dedicated lawyer who will fight aggressively on your behalf.

Yesterday it was announced that Meridian Township Police were in search of a man who entered an apartment at The Lodges Apartments located near MSU’s campus. According to WILX-TV, the man is believed to have walked into an unlocked apartment while the woman who lived there was taking a shower.

The incident occurred on Wednesday evening when the man entered the apartment and waited in the bedroom as the young woman showered. As he waited, the woman’s roommate came home; the suspect then ran off. Police are calling the man a “home invasion suspect,” and believe him to be a while male in his mid-twenties, about 5′ 10″ tall with a medium build and brown hair.

Lieutenant Greg Frenger said the police believe the man had been watching the woman and her apartment, and that he knew she would be alone when he entered. Frenger also believes the woman left the apartment door unlocked, a practice that is all too common in the apartment complex. A neighbor who lives across the hall from where the incident took place said that residents don’t always lock their doors, as many come in and out frequently. Frenger asked that residents be more cautious and aware, but particularly vigilant in locking their doors.

When the suspect is apprehended, he could be facing charges of home invasion or breaking and entering. Michigan criminal defense attorneys know that a person does not have to break out a window or kick in a door to be accused of home invasion. When an individual enters a home fraudulently, even through a window that is partially opened, he or she may be charged with breaking and entering or home invasion. Even pushing open a door that is not locked is against the law, when someone else’s home or property is entered for fraudulent or criminal purposes.

Those charged with home invasion must contact a seasoned defense lawyer immediately, as your legal rights must be protected from the outset. Police can be unforgiving when interrogating someone suspected of a crime, wearing the suspect down and getting him/her to say things that may be further incriminating. Many investigators have even been successful in getting suspects to admit to crimes they didn’t commit with these intense pressure tactics. It is not unlawful for police to lie during an interview in an effort to get a suspect to admit to a crime – and they do it regularly.

If you have been accused of home invasion, you could be facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted of home invasion in the first degree. Do not face the criminal justice system without benefit of a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney.

Recently, two men were arrested after they allegedly robbed a female clerk at the Country Store II in Geneva Township. According to a news report at Mlive.com, the woman was robbed at knifepoint on December 2. When the incident was over, she jotted down the license plate number of the suspects’ vehicle. iStock_000011602905_Large (2)

The robbery occurred at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when a man entered the store and demanded money from the 36-year-old clerk while wielding a knife. She was not harmed, but did give the man an undisclosed amount of cash before he left the store. She went out to the parking lot and wrote down the license plate of a car she thought was suspect.

After reporting the license plate number to police, officers from Midland and Coleman assisted in locating the two men who were involved, identified them, and arrested them. One of the suspects is a 37-year-old Mount Pleasant man, the other a 19-year-old Midland man. Police said the Bay County Sheriff’s Dept. assisted in arresting the Mount Pleasant man. Both were taken into custody; police have recommended they be charged with armed robbery.

Armed robbery is a very serious criminal offense, and involves the theft of property or money while in possession of a dangerous weapon. In fact, a suspect does not have to actually possess a gun, knife, or other “real” weapon; simply insinuating the presence of a weapon in a way that would instill fear in the victim and cause him or her to believe a weapon is present is enough to bring armed robbery charges.

When found guilty of armed robbery in Michigan, a defendant may face any number of years up to life in prison. There is no maximum punishment, however a person may be sentenced to two years, 10 years, 20 years, or any other number of years depending on the crime, and the punishment jurors or the judge deem fitting for the offense.

Anyone who is accused of armed robbery must consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately. No matter how violent or serious a crime may be, every individual who is arrested and charged with a theft or larceny crime is innocent until proven guilty. Your legal rights must be protected, and a vigorous defense mounted in order to protect your freedom and future. Those accused of a serious felony offense should never attempt to defend themselves without the legal support and guidance of a skilled defense attorney.

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 Mlive.com, 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 Mlive.com. 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 Mlive.com, 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.