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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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