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January 31, 2013

Boy recognized for helping to bag illegal hunters

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN – Tyler Sittaro said he knew something wasn’t right when he saw two men pulling a deer out of the woods across the street from his Warren home in December.

The 11-year-old fifth-grader comes from a hunting family. His dad, Dan Sittaro, said he hunts deer. Tyler said he plans to take a hunter safety course next year before he takes up the pastime that’s so dear to many in Michigan.

But to Tyler, the sight of the men dragging a five-point buck on a sled through a neighborhood near 14 Mile and Van Dyke was more than just wrong.

“I thought it was just stupid,” Tyler said. “You have to have a lot more wooded area to hunt, and you have to have a license.”

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts went even further. He said what the men did was also illegal because it violated city ordinances that prohibit hunting and shooting broadhead arrows with a bow.

Fouts met Tyler at his school Jan. 30, Fillmore Elementary in Sterling Heights, where he presented the boy with $50 gift certificates to a sporting goods store and local restaurant.

“The deer for all practical purposes are domesticated animals within the city of Warren,” Fouts said. “Hopefully this goes a long way toward sending the message that hunting is unacceptable within our city limits.”

Tyler said he called his mom after he saw the men dragging an antlered deer out of the woods across the street from his home near Jenny and Knapp.

“He said, ‘Mom, there’s these guys coming out of the woods with a deer on a sled.’ He said, ‘I want to call the police,’” said Tina Sittaro, Tyler’s mother. “I’m proud of him.”

A neighbor called to report what happened and Tyler led officers to the woods where they recovered a blood trail and deer organs.

Tyler said he also saw the men loading the deer carcass into the back of a U-Haul pick-up truck. That tip led police to the U-Haul store at 13 Mile and Ryan, where they found a blue Subaru that matched the description of a car seen in the neighborhood. A compound hunting bow, a pop-up deer blind, a propane heater and loose corn used to bait deer were reportedly observed in the car in plain view.

Warren Police Special Operations Unit officers later arrested 27-year-old William Francis of Riverview and 19-year-old Myles Ehret of Royal Oak after they returned in the rental truck to retrieve the car.

Both men had dried blood on their clothing, according to a police report, and both allegedly said they wanted to speak with an attorney when they were questioned about the deer.

Officers also reportedly observed blood and deer hair in the bed of the rented pick-up.

Police said Francis was in the possession of a valid Michigan archery deer-hunting license but that the slain animal was not tagged. Officers later learned the carcass was taken from the wooded lot in Warren to Francis’ home in Riverview.

Officials said the deer was later recovered and donated to a family in need for food.

Francis and Ehret were arraigned in the 37th District Court on a felony charge for killing/torturing an animal that carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison. A hearing to determine if they’ll stand trial on the charge was adjourned in January and rescheduled for Feb. 12 before Judge Dean Ausilio.

Their defense attorney, Michael Chupa, did not return phone calls seeking comment on the case.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.