Man accused of robbing restaurant-goer at gunpoint
By Terry Oparka
Posted January 23, 2013
A suspect was arrested at a party store with a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit a week after he allegedly robbed a woman at gunpoint outside a restaurant.
According to reports, a woman at Alibi restaurant, 6700 Rochester Road, was placing her carryout order in the trunk of her car just before 3 p.m. Jan. 9 when she heard a vehicle pull up beside her at a high rate of speed. A man wearing a black ski mask got out of the driver’s side of the vehicle and pointed what the woman believed to be a stainless steel handgun at her, saying, “Give me your purse now,” according to reports.
The woman complied, and the man got back into the vehicle, which the woman described as a black Jeep SUV; he fled the parking lot and drove onto Rochester Road. Troy police Sgt. Andy Breidenich said the woman was able to give police a partial plate number.
Upon investigation, police identified the suspect vehicle as a Dodge Nitro. On Jan. 16, patrol officers spotted the vehicle parked in front of a home in a subdivision near the restaurant where the robbery had occurred. They followed the suspect, James Rutherford Mell, 38, as he drove the vehicle to a local party store.
Police arrested Mell, who at that time was intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.30 percent, according to reports.
He was arraigned Jan. 18 on an armed robbery charge, which carries a life sentence; six counts of credit card fraud; and drunken driving. Bond for the armed robbery and fraud charges was set at $250,000 cash/surety and at $20,000 for the drunken driving charge.
Mell’s attorney could not be reached for comment before press time.
A preliminary exam on the armed robbery and fraud charges is set for Jan. 23.
About the author
Staff Writer Terry Oparka covers Troy and the Troy School District for the Troy Times. Oparka has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2000 and attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Oparka has won an award from the Michigan Press Association and four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter.
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