Pair arrested for safe theft after video draws tips for police

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 17, 2017

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Two men have been charged after their alleged involvement in the theft of a safe containing hundreds of dollars.

Robert Smith, 24, of Center Line, and Karae Prince, 32, of Clinton Township, were arraigned via video by Magistrate Daniel Goulette July 17 in 41-B District Court in Clinton Township. The two men allegedly stole a small safe from Hockey Sports Academy in Clinton Township.

Smith was arraigned first. He said he is employed, though he was granted a court-appointed attorney.

Goulette noted that prior to Smith’s alleged involvement in the stolen safe, he had three other criminal cases pending in Macomb County Circuit Court, including two larceny charges and one charge for drug possession of 25 grams or less.

“All of these things are happening in succession,” said Goulette, who set Smith’s bond at $50,000 cash or surety.

Prince also requested a court-appointed attorney, though he too is employed. Goulette noted that he had a warrant due to matters related to child support.

Goulette set his bond at $10,000 cash or surety, or 10 percent.

Clinton Township Police Capt. Richard Maierle said the incident occurred around 8 p.m. July 13, at the Clinton Township-based hockey academy. He said police received the call from the academy on July 14.

Maierle said Smith and Prince allegedly entered the building, and the front desk employee was busy in another section of the establishment. That was when the two suspects reportedly grabbed a small safe containing about $300 and fled from the building.

The business’ surveillance camera caught images of the suspects, Maierle said, and the video went viral around metro Detroit. Residents submitted tips to police, which led to both weekend arrests.

“The (Hockey Sports Academy owner) has a really good security camera, really high-resolution,” Maierle said. “We got a lot of calls on (the incident).”

Officers from the Sterling Heights Police Department arrested Smith July 16 at what Maierle believed was a gas station off Van Dyke Avenue. Prince was found by officers July 16 at the Relax Inn, located on Gratiot Avenue south of 14 Mile Road in Roseville.

The money was reportedly never recovered by police.

At press time, both suspects were being held at Macomb County Jail. A probable cause conference for each will be scheduled within 14 days of the arraignment date.