Articles Posted in Theft and Property Crimes

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 Mlive.com.theft

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 →

Two banks were recently robbed in Blackman-Leoni Township, both located on E. Michigan Avenue. Now, investigators believe that one man is responsible for robbing a FirstMerit Bank on January 31, and a Flagstar Bank branch on February 7, according to news articles at Mlive.com. us-currency-4-1007270-m

Public safety Detective Sgt. Christopher Boulter said that the individual who entered the Flagstar Bank resembled the individual who robbed the FirstMerit Bank, and that the perpetrator in both robberies was wearing the same mask. Boulter also said a similar method and weapon were used in the bank robberies.

On Friday February 7, the man entered the Flagstar Bank branch at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon; according to Boulter, the robber jumped a counter and demanded money after brandishing what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun. The FirstMerit Bank, robbed just a week earlier, is located within one mile of Flagstar Bank. In the first robbery, the suspect was wearing a dark grey hooded sweatshirt and a black mask. The man demanded money while brandishing a black handgun.

The suspect had not been apprehended at the time of news reports, however, police have released bank camera surveillance photos. Following the second robbery on Friday, a police dog tracked the suspect to an area southwest of the bank on Wood Circle Drive. It is believed the suspect got into a vehicle and left at that point.

Bank robbery is a serious crime in Michigan, and is in fact a federal crime. When the suspect is eventually apprehended, it is likely he will face serious criminal charges for allegedly robbing both banks while armed. Armed robbery is a felony which will leave a person who is convicted facing substantial fines and prison time; depending on the circumstances, an individual may be sentenced to up to life in prison for armed robbery.

If you have been accused of a theft or larceny offense, take action immediately. Your career, freedom, and reputation are at stake. Consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney who will work diligently to protect your freedom and help you avoid a conviction and harsh criminal penalties.

Two men are potentially facing life in prison in connection with robbing and carjacking an Ypsilanti man on Tuesday morning, according to news reports at Mlive.com. 25-year-old Quintez Gardner of Ann Arbor, and 23-year-old Cameron Hall of Ypsilanti Township have been charged in the incident involving a 29-year-old Ypsilanti man who gave the suspects a ride. highway-1421812-m.jpg

The incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday January 22 in the area of Michigan Avenue and South Mansfield Street. Police claim that the 29-year-old victim who was driving a 2013 Chevrolet Impala did not know the three men he stopped to give a ride to. The third man has not been identified. The driver of the Impala picked Gardner, Hall, and the unidentified man up near Michigan Avenue and Ballard; upon arriving at South Mansfield Street, the suspects attacked the driver according to police.

Ypsilanti police Detective Sgt. Tom Eberts stated that the victim was punched and pulled out of the car. The suspects allegedly stole the man’s shoes, car, cellphone, and wallet. The three suspects left with the victim’s Impala, leaving him on the side of the road. According to Eberts, the victim suffered frostbite as he was forced to walk to the police station without shoes.

A few hours after the incident, the suspects were stopped on Interstate 94 in Ypsilanti Township while driving a different vehicle. The suspect’s Impala was recovered later in Ypsilanti in the 700 block of Arbor Drive.

Gardner and Hall are held on a $50,000 cash bond, and are scheduled for a preliminary examination on February 4.

Carjacking is a criminal offense which is punished severely in the state of Michigan; in fact, those convicted may be sentenced to a term of life in prison. According to Michigan Penal Code Section 750.529a, a person who threatens or forces an individual who is in lawful possession of his or her vehicle or even threatens force or violence may be found guilty of carjacking.

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Reid Cook Hanson, a 36-year-old Grand Rapids Township man, was recently sentenced to four to 25 years in prison for robbing a Circle K gas station and convenience store located at 514 Michigan St. NE. Reid admitted to robbing the station on September 26, saying it was “the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Reid was intoxicated at the time. gas-station-585609-m.jpg

News articles at Mlive.com say Hanson’s decision to rob the Circle K was spur-of-the-moment. He also insinuated the presence of a gun using his hand inside a pocket of his jacket while demanding money from a clerk. Employees were aware Hanson was intoxicated, but were not sure whether he was joking. Hanson’s defense lawyer said that store employees complied with his client’s demands for safety’s sake.

Hanson was apprehended the following day after fleeing the convenience store with an undisclosed amount of cash. At the sentencing hearing on January 6, Hanson’s attorney told Judge James Robert Redford “This was one of the dumber robberies I’ve ever seen.”

Hanson pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob while armed. He apologized for his actions, telling the court that he occasionally has issues with substances.

Assault with intent to rob while armed is a felony offense in Michigan, punishable by any number of years up to life in prison. As the defendant admitted himself, this was a “dumb” mistake likely made due to the fact that he was intoxicated. Now he will spend at a minimum four years of his life behind bars, possibly 25.

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On Saturday, 22-year-old Ervin Dale Allen of Flint was arraigned on one count of felony firearm and four counts of armed robbery, according to news reports at Mlive.com. Allen allegedly robbed a Davison Check-n-Go on January 2. Authorities suspect he is also connected to similar robberies in Flint, Fenton, Grand Blanc, and Mt. Morris. gun-1213609-m.jpg

Davison police say the convenience store was robbed early in the morning at gunpoint. The defendant was arrested by police shortly after the robbery occurred and jailed. He is being held without bond pending a preliminary exam scheduled for January 14.

Davison police were assisted in the arrest of the defendant by the Mt. Morris and Grand Blanc Police Departments, along with the Flint Area Narcotics group.

Armed robbery is a very serious criminal offense in the state of Michigan. Stealing money from an establishment using violence, force, or instilling fear in individuals who are present may result in prison time of up to 15 years for those convicted. When a defendant is found guilty of possessing a dangerous weapon or even insinuating the presence of a weapon whether or not it is fact, he or she may face up to life in prison. The minimum prison sentence for an armed robbery conviction is two years. While no one wants to spend time behind bars, a conviction will also result in a criminal record, and possibly the ruin of your reputation and career. The damage is ultimately life-long.

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Earlier this month we wrote about Ronnie Odell Taylor, a 45-year-old man who was convicted in late November of robbing a Kentucky Fried Chicken located at 4040 Plainfield Ave. NE in Plainfield Township. Now, Taylor’s alleged accomplice in the robbery is facing life in prison, even though he pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and lying to police, according to a recent news article at Mlive.com. colorado-ski-trip-732473-m.jpg

29-year-old Leonardo Simmons refused a plea deal in which prosecutors wanted Simmons to testify against Taylor and plead guilty to armed robbery. Simmons is a four-time felony offender; prosecutors had told Simmons if he would plead guilty to two counts of armed robbery, he would not be charged as a repeat offender, and conspiracy charges would be dropped. Because he refused the plea agreement, Simmons may still face up to life in prison after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact because he is a repeat offender. This ultimately means that he may spend his life behind bars for an offense which would normally carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Simmons and Taylor are accused of robbing the KFC on April 6 of this year. Taylor’s wife was an employee at the KFC according to news reports, however she was not charged in the incident. Employees of the store said that despite the fact he was wearing a ski mask, they recognized Taylor’s voice and eyes.

Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on January 21.

News articles are not clear about what role Simmons played in the KFC robbery, however his status as a repeat offender and the fact that he turned down prosecutors initial plea deal may leave him facing the rest of his life behind bars.

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A 25-year-old Leoni Township man was recently arrested by police in connection with the armed robberies of two Leoni Township businesses, according to news articles at Mlive.com. The suspect’s name has not yet been released pending his arraignment on the charges. dont-think-just-walk-1387018-m.jpg

Police arrested the suspect on December 17; two charges were issued against him for armed robbery by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office according to Detective Sgt. Chris Boulter of the Blackman-Leoni Township Department of Public Safety.

On November 25, the suspect allegedly stole $16 from the purse of Charleen Shelby, owner of Shelby Shoe Outlet. Shelby said that the man came into the store and demanded she open the cash register, which was already open and contained no cash due to the fact it was early in the morning and no customers had made a purchase. Shelby said the man pointed a gun in her face two times, and demanded her purse after seeing that the registered contained no cash.

Police also believe the same man is responsible for the November 26 armed robbery of the Valero gas station located at 3501 Page Avenue. In this incident, a man wearing sunglasses, dark gloves, and a dark coat with the hood pulled up entered the station and brandished a handgun demanding money from a clerk. The amount of money the suspect took in this incident was not disclosed.

Armed robbery is a very serious offense; those convicted in Michigan will face extremely harsh criminal penalties. Whether an individual is actually in possession of a weapon or insinuates it, he or she may be charged with felony armed robbery. The maximum punishment if found guilty of this offense is life in prison. According to Michigan Penal Code 750.529, the minimum sentence for a conviction of armed robbery is two years. The criminal penalties you will face if convicted depend on a number of factors, including past criminal history.

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Fred Willy Glespie, a 19-year-old Benton Harbor resident, was found not guilty on Friday December 6 in connection with an apartment fire that killed three children in February of this year. Glespie was acquitted of the charges after a jury deliberated just over an hour. new-york-apartment-building-934815-m.jpg

The February 18 fire occurred at Interfaith Homes off Woodward Avenue; three young children ranging in age from one to three were alone in an apartment they lived in with an older sister and their mother, Jonetta Woods. The children who lost their lives in the fire include Ty’onna Henderson, 1, and Tevin and Te’Niyah Williams, 3-year-old twins.

Glespie was charged with three counts each of second-degree child abuse and involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of the children after the children’s mother claimed that the defendant was supposed to be watching her children at the time the fire broke out. The children were left alone in the apartment prior to the fatal blaze breaking out, according to a news article at Mlive.com.

The fire allegedly started when 3-year-old Tevin set something on fire using the kitchen stove, then brought it into the living room where a mattress and box springs caught fire. The defendant said in a police interview that the child had a “fascination” with the stove.

Ultimately, jurors found Glespie not guilty after hearing testimony from Jonetta Woods, employees at Interfaith Homes, Woods’ sister, Charlonda Woods, and officers with Kalamazoo Public Safety. Jeff Gagie, the defendant’s attorney, said in his closing statement that the children’s mother’s testimony was unreliable, and that the testimony given by a friend and Woods’ sister contradicted Jonetta Woods’ testimony.

Had Glespie been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, he may have faced penalties which include up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $7,500. Michigan criminal defense attorneys understand that there are many cases in which an innocent individual is accused of a crime he or she did not commit.

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Tracy Gaye Mata was charged with larceny from a building when she allegedly stole $6,500 from an elderly woman she cared for and befriended. Now, Mata has been ordered to remain in jail until she repays the money to Dorothy Preblo, the 91-year-old woman who was in her care. old-people-735910-m.jpg

According to an article at Mlive.com, Mata was caught on video after the elderly woman set up a camera to catch Mata in the act. Mata was caught stealing money from Preblo’s purse.

Sandee Johnston, the victim’s daughter, said in court that Mata used the Bible to gain Preblo’s trust, and that the defendant had stolen money from her mother over a period of months. Johnston also stated that her mother had begun to believe her suspicions of missing money was a result of Alzheimer’s disease. Preblo and Mata met at church; Mata cared for the woman over a period of 18 months in a volunteer capacity, and visited Preblo several times a day. Preblo came to feel that the woman she thought was her friend really only “liked her money.”

Mata was ordered to pay the money after pleading guilty to the charge in October. Preblo’s daughter agreed with the amount, although she believes more than $6,500 was taken from her mother.

The defendant said she would be able to repay the money right away after Judge Dennis Leiber ordered her to remain as long as 90 days in the Kent County Jail, or until the full sum is paid. The 91-year-old woman said that she was more interested in seeing that Mata felt true remorse for the crime she committed than seeing her in jail.

If Mata had gone to trial and been found guilty, she may have faced substantially harsher penalties. In Michigan, a conviction for charges of larceny from a building will leave the defendant facing up to four years in jail. This offense is described as the stealing of property, money, or goods from a house, office, hotel, school, factory, church, trailer, gas station, warehouse, or any publicly used building.

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