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.
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.