Two men already on parole for theft-related crimes were nabbed for swiping leaf blowers from a landscaper Oct. 1 after a police pursuit that extended into Madison Heights.
According to Sterling Heights police, the victim was working in the Metropolitan Parkway and Schoenherr area when he witnessed two men removing two gas-powered leaf blowers from the rear of his landscaping truck and loading them into the bed of their own pickup truck.
The landscaper ran after the suspects’ vehicle and caught up with it at the corner of Camelot and Schoenherr, but the driver allegedly swerved at him, prompting him to back off. As the suspects fled westbound on Metropolitan Parkway, the victim called 911 and supplied dispatchers with a detailed description of the vehicle.
Officers spotted the vehicle traveling west on Metro Parkway, and when they attempted to conduct a stop, the suspects continued their flight. Police pursued the vehicle south on Dequindre, into Madison Heights, where they observed the vehicle getting onto westbound I-696.
“Because he was getting on the freeway, we called (the pursuit) off, but then one officer was going down the ramp and saw the vehicle sitting there,” said Lt. Luke Riley of the Sterling Heights Police Department.
Shortly thereafter, officers found the vehicle abandoned on the shoulder of the freeway. Footprints led up the embankment, and witnesses reported seeing two men running through a nearby neighborhood.
The suspects were finally located a short distance away, and a K-9 unit confirmed the identification by tracking from the vehicle to where the men were being detained.
Riley said it’s a technique that’s often employed for additional verification of whether suspects were inside a vehicle previously.
“We catch them in their location, and then we’ll do a track from the car to see if the dog tracks to them,” he said. “It’s pretty reliable.”
A search of the suspects turned up drug paraphernalia on one of them, said Riley.
The men, later identified as Madison Heights resident Bennie Lee Beard, 56, and Detroit resident Caruth Gordon Davis, 52, were arraigned on one count of larceny, $1,000 or more but less than $20,000, in 41-A District Court Oct. 2.
If convicted of the felony, the men face up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater.
Beard also faces additional charges: one count each of fleeing a police officer-third degree, a five-year felony; lying to a peace officer, a two-year high court misdemeanor; and operating with license suspended/revoked/denied, a 93-day misdemeanor.
Magistrate Michael Piatek set bond for both men at $50,000 cash/surety only. At press time, the men’s preliminary exam was set for Oct. 12.
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